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Uttarakhand: rains stall relief ops; 4,045 still missing

Three members of a family were killed in a house collapse in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand today, even as chief minister Vijay Bahuguna said the number of missing people had gone up to 4,045 — a sharp rise from last week’s figure of 3,068. HT reports.

india Updated: Jul 09, 2013 01:30 IST
HT Correspondent, PTI
HT Correspondent, PTI
A-man-rows-past-a-bus-partly-submerged-in-flood-water-in-Rishikesh-Uttarakhand-AP-Photo( )

Three members of a family were killed in a house collapse in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand on Monday, even as chief minister Vijay Bahuguna said the number of missing people had gone up to 4,045 — a sharp rise from last week’s figure of 3,068.

Two women and a child belonging to one family were killed when the ceiling of their house collapsed in Vikasnagar area of Dehradun, officials in Dehradun said.

The roof of the house caved in under the impact of debris from the hills, killing them on the spot, they said.

About eight houses in Urgam valley of Chamoli district were damaged due to heavy rains today forcing the occupants to vacate them and move to safer places, Chamoli's district magistrate SA Murugesan said.

People living in those houses are safe as they have been evacuated apprehending damage, he said.

Water level in Bhagirathi river in Uttarkashi has been constantly on the rise with villages of Tiloth and Joshiyara villages facing the danger of being inundated.

People living in houses located along the banks of the river have been asked to move to safer places, officials in Dehradun said.

IAF's C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, commissioned after choppers engaged in the operations earlier failed to fly relief material to affected areas, has also not been helpful in the inclement weather.

It had to return from a sortie this morning after failing to drop relief material due to overcast skies and low visibility conditions, NDMA member in charge of relief operations in the hill state VK Duggal said.

The aircraft was supposed to airdrop relief material in worst-hit Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Pithoragarh and Rudraprayag districts including Kedarnath where the process of cremating bodies is being carried out by a team of over 70 experts and trained personnel who are said to be facing food shortage.

The plane was loaded with relief material last night for Kedarnath and other flood-hit areas but so far it has not been able to carry out its mission, he said.

Chief minister Vijay Bahuguna on Monday said the number of people missing due to June’s flood fury in Uttarakhand had gone up to 4,045, a sharp rise from the figure of 3,068 he gave about a week ago.

“Of the total 4,045 missing persons, 795 are from different areas of Uttarakhand and the rest from other states,” he said.

“If not found by July 15, the missing persons will be officially considered dead. Their families will be provided monetary compensation, as approved by the state government.”

The CM also announced a compensation of Rs 25,000 each for people whose gharats (water mills that serve as mini hydropower projects) were washed away.

Relief operations remained badly affected in all districts with no chopper operations carried out so far since morning and the network of major roads and highways still damaged affecting transportation of food, medicines and other relief material.

The Chamoli DM said choppers have not been able to take off due to bad weather and with roads still breached, relief cannot reach the affected people either way causing concern among the authorities.

Uttarakhand would also set up four state disaster response force units — at Rudraprayag, Joshimath, Bageshwar and Champavat — on the lines of the national disaster response force, he said.

The move has been initiated keeping in view the regularity with which the state faces flash floods and landslides as well as earthquakes.

The CM said a system of registration of pilgrims and tourists would also be introduced.

The washed away routes to religious destinations Gangotri, Yamnotri, Badrinath and Hemkund would be reopened by September, he added.

According to the CM, barring the disaster-affected areas, tourist destinations such as Mussoorie and Nainital and the routes leading to them were safe for travel.

He said arrangements were being put in place for the proposed Kanwar yatra, the annual pilgrimage of the devotees of Lord Shiva, from July 23.

(With inputs from PTI)

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