Uttarakhand worst hit as rain, floods kill at least 60 in north India
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Cloudbursts, floods and landslides brought on by incessant rain over the past 48 hours have left a trail of destruction across north India, killing at least 60 people, injuring scores and leaving thousands stranded.
Uttarakhand has borne the brunt. At least 30 people have died and floods have washed away four hundred roads, scores of telephone towers, vehicles and houses as well as a helicopter and left some 57,000 pilgrims to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri stranded. The Army has been called in to rescue them as well as local villagers.
In the worst-affected Rudraprayag, rescue workers have found bodies of five of the 11 people believed to have been killed in a cloudburst near Rambada near Kedarnath. Two persons are feared dead in a landslide in the area and several are missing. The famous Kedarnath temple is inaccessible as the bridge to it has been washed away.
"Rambada mein zyada nuksan hua hai," Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna told a press conference Monday. "But I am not in position to give you details. Uttarakhand is in grip of unprecedented rain and floods. I am trying my best to collect information from various districts to assess the situation. About 400 roads have been damaged. Bridges have been swept away. Helicopters are ready but the weather is not favouring us."
Rambada is a base camp for pilgrims to Kedarnath. Reports said at least 40 hotels near Gaurikunda, from where pilgrims start their journey to the temple on foot, and a market at Sonprayag have been washed away by a raging Mandakini river. Some 3,000 pilgrims have reportedly taken shelter with villagers in Gori.
In Chamoli, a group of seven foreign trekkers are believed to be trapped at Ghattauli near Badrinath. And the authorities evacuated Pandukeshwar village after Alaknanda changed course.