Over a fortnight after flash floods, relief material yet to reach many villages

FPAs dark clouds loom, relief work continues at the Chardham base above Guptkashi on Wednesday

While the Met department has predicted heavy rainfall over the next 72 hours, the Uttarakhand government has been trying to distribute relief material to all flood-affected families. But several villages in Rudraprayag district, said to be among the worst-affected, are yet to get any foodgrain. At other places, the relief material is being collected in bulk by gram panchayat offices, but is not being distributed to all homes. Related: Weather clears, 23 more bodies cremated

With the Rudraprayag-Guptkashi road link being cut off, relief trucks are being sent through the alternate route from Tehri dam, via Mayali to Guptkashi and then Phata. Villagers have to trek several kilometres to the nearest motorable roads to get the foodgrain. In places where the kutcha roads too have been washed away, relief material is being air-dropped.

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At Giwani village, under Ukhimath tehsil, no relief material has reached yet. The fields adjoining the Mandakini river have been washed away. Vijender Prasad Bhatt, a villager, says that while foodgrain is reaching the villages located at lower altitudes, they haven't got anything yet. Related: Put on record rescue is over, SC tells state

With the distance between different villages within a gram panchayat ranging between 2-10 kilometres, the distribution of relief material, which is being sent to the sarpanches, is becoming a problem.

For instance, although the Deoli-Bramhagram panchayat has been getting a lot of relief material, Shirvani — the last village under the panchayat, only accessible after a 4-km steep trek — is yet to get anything.

"Our village is a Dalit basti. The pundits who live in Deoli-Bramhagram are not sending any relief material beyond their villages. Nobody bothers to climb up here to distribute food. We have lost our men, how do they expect us to walk down all the way?" says Vinita, 23, whose husband, Mahesh Lal, has been missing since the flash floods.

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