Floods leave trail of death and destruction in Kedarnath

Wed Jul 17 2013, 16:50 hrs
The government officially declared that nearly 6,000 people were missing a month after flash floods ravaged large parts of Uttarakhand, but stopped short of saying they were presumed dead.  A private helicopter, the first to crash during the Kedarnath rescue operations, lies near the Jungle Chatti area on the Kedarnath trail in Rudraprayag district in Uttarakhand. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
The government officially declared that nearly 6,000 people were missing a month after flash floods ravaged large parts of Uttarakhand, but stopped short of saying they were presumed dead.
A private helicopter, the first to crash during the Kedarnath rescue operations, lies near the Jungle Chatti area on the Kedarnath trail in Rudraprayag district in Uttarakhand. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
The figure of 5,748, based on tallies of missing persons from around the country, was the first official estimate following weeks in which the numbers of dead and missing fluctuated wildly from a few hundred to several thousand.  A body of a man lies fallen in a brook on route to Rambadda in Kedarnath. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
The figure of 5,748, based on tallies of missing persons from around the country, was the first official estimate following weeks in which the numbers of dead and missing fluctuated wildly from a few hundred to several thousand.
A body of a man lies fallen in a brook on route to Rambadda in Kedarnath. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has said that his government will pay Rs 150,000 to the affected families in the state, besides compensation from the federal government.  A makeshift hospital above Jungle Chatti, which did not survive in the heavy rains and the flash floods that hit the Kedarnath area.(IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has said that his government will pay Rs 150,000 to the affected families in the state, besides compensation from the federal government.
A makeshift hospital above Jungle Chatti, which did not survive in the heavy rains and the flash floods that hit the Kedarnath area.(IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
"We are not getting into the controversy whether the missing persons are dead or not," said Bahuguna. "We are abiding by what the families of the victims say, and if they think that they haven't come back and have no hope as well, (then) we are providing them monetary relief."  With the route to the Kedarnath yatra washed away in the flood, some of the routes like theses are intensely risky to take.(IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
"We are not getting into the controversy whether the missing persons are dead or not," said Bahuguna. "We are abiding by what the families of the victims say, and if they think that they haven't come back and have no hope as well, (then) we are providing them monetary relief."
With the route to the Kedarnath yatra washed away in the flood, some of the routes like theses are intensely risky to take.(IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
The official death toll still stands at 580, an official of the National Disaster Management Authority said. More than 4,600 of the missing in Uttarakhand had come from elsewhere in India, said the official, who declined to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to the media.  The alleys of the Gaurikund resembles a ghost town with only the presence of a few policemen and sanitation workers. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
The official death toll still stands at 580, an official of the National Disaster Management Authority said. More than 4,600 of the missing in Uttarakhand had come from elsewhere in India, said the official, who declined to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
The alleys of the Gaurikund resembles a ghost town with only the presence of a few policemen and sanitation workers. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Record rains in June caused devastating landslides and flooded rivers in Uttarakhand, trapping tens of thousands of Hindu devotees, who flock there each year on a pilgrimage to the temple towns of Kedarnath, Gangotri, Badrinath and Yamunotri.  Remains of a victim of the Kedarnath flash flood lies in a jungle on the hills above Gaurikund. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Record rains in June caused devastating landslides and flooded rivers in Uttarakhand, trapping tens of thousands of Hindu devotees, who flock there each year on a pilgrimage to the temple towns of Kedarnath, Gangotri, Badrinath and Yamunotri.
Remains of a victim of the Kedarnath flash flood lies in a jungle on the hills above Gaurikund. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
The rains buried villages in silt and washed away roads, while raging rivers like the Ganges swept away homes on their banks.  Skeletal remains of a flash flood victim remains after cremation near Rambadda on the Kedarnath yatra trail. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
The rains buried villages in silt and washed away roads, while raging rivers like the Ganges swept away homes on their banks.
Skeletal remains of a flash flood victim remains after cremation near Rambadda on the Kedarnath yatra trail. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
The disaster, dubbed a "Himalayan tsunami" by officials and media, prompted one of the largest airlifts in the history of the Indian air force, as helicopters flew hundreds of sorties to rescue residents and pilgrims.  The route to Kedarnath from Jungle Chatti is littered and broken. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
The disaster, dubbed a "Himalayan tsunami" by officials and media, prompted one of the largest airlifts in the history of the Indian air force, as helicopters flew hundreds of sorties to rescue residents and pilgrims.
The route to Kedarnath from Jungle Chatti is littered and broken. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
More than 100,000 people were rescued by the air force and security force personnel on the ground, officials said.  A dead mule on the yatra track between Rambadda and Jungle Chatti in the Kedarnath region. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
More than 100,000 people were rescued by the air force and security force personnel on the ground, officials said.
A dead mule on the yatra track between Rambadda and Jungle Chatti in the Kedarnath region. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Stranded mules feed on leftovers on a road spilled with utilities and belongings on the Kedarnath yatra route above Jungle chatti.(IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Stranded mules feed on leftovers on a road spilled with utilities and belongings on the Kedarnath yatra route above Jungle chatti.(IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
The calamity was a "Himalayan tsunami" that brought death and destruction to a rugged terrain sprawling over 37,000 sq. km (14,000 sq miles), said Vijay Bahuguna, chief minister of Uttarakhand that suffered the brunt.  An incompletely burned body of a woman lies on the route between Jungle Chatti and Rambadda on the Kedarnath yatra trail. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
The calamity was a "Himalayan tsunami" that brought death and destruction to a rugged terrain sprawling over 37,000 sq. km (14,000 sq miles), said Vijay Bahuguna, chief minister of Uttarakhand that suffered the brunt.
An incompletely burned body of a woman lies on the route between Jungle Chatti and Rambadda on the Kedarnath yatra trail. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Air force pilots, who were operating more than 40 helicopters at the peak of the search, have had to negotiate narrow valleys, sometimes flanked with dense forest, and unpredictable mountain weather. Two helicopters have crashed during the rescue and 20 servicemen killed.  A body of a woman lies below Jungle chatti on the Kedarnath yatra trail.(IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Air force pilots, who were operating more than 40 helicopters at the peak of the search, have had to negotiate narrow valleys, sometimes flanked with dense forest, and unpredictable mountain weather. Two helicopters have crashed during the rescue and 20 servicemen killed.
A body of a woman lies below Jungle chatti on the Kedarnath yatra trail.(IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Government officials say most deaths occurred in the narrow, 14-km (7-mile) Kedarnath Valley, with its temple town dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, whose role is to destroy the universe in order to re-create it.  A private helicopter, the first to crash during the Kedarnath rescue operations, lies near the Jungle Chatti area on the Kedarnath trail in Rudraprayag district in Uttarakhand. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Government officials say most deaths occurred in the narrow, 14-km (7-mile) Kedarnath Valley, with its temple town dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, whose role is to destroy the universe in order to re-create it.
A private helicopter, the first to crash during the Kedarnath rescue operations, lies near the Jungle Chatti area on the Kedarnath trail in Rudraprayag district in Uttarakhand. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
The area is still only accessible by helicopters which have been flying in paramilitary and army personnel, medical experts and other officials trying to locate, identify and dispose of decomposing corpses buried in mounds of sludge.  Body of a woman lies below Jungle chatti on the Kedarnath yatra trail. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
The area is still only accessible by helicopters which have been flying in paramilitary and army personnel, medical experts and other officials trying to locate, identify and dispose of decomposing corpses buried in mounds of sludge.
Body of a woman lies below Jungle chatti on the Kedarnath yatra trail. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Some relatives grieve that this will leave them no chance of performing last rites for their loved ones. The 500,000 rupees compensation from the government is scant comfort.  The body of a woman lies below Jungle chatti on Kedarnath. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Some relatives grieve that this will leave them no chance of performing last rites for their loved ones. The 500,000 rupees compensation from the government is scant comfort.
The body of a woman lies below Jungle chatti on Kedarnath. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Some of the devastated vehicles around Sonprayag near Guptkashi at the foothills of the Kedar valley. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)
Some of the devastated vehicles around Sonprayag near Guptkashi at the foothills of the Kedar valley. (IE Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

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