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33 killed, 35 missing in Uttarakhand cloudbursts

Last updated on: September 14, 2012 21:36 IST

A series of cloudbursts struck Uttarakhand since Friday night triggering landslides and flash floods that left 33 dead, 35 missing and several injured in
parts of the hill state.

The Ukhimath area in Rudraprayag district was the worst hit as a cloudburst in the wee hours on Friday flattened dozens of homes in eight villages killing at least 22 people in their sleep. Over 40 people have gone missing in the disaster and 15 were injured.

"Twenty two bodies have been recovered so far and 40 persons are still missing," Piyush Rautela, executive director of the disaster management and mitigation department in Dehradun said.

Villages like Chunni, Mangoli, Kimana, Sansari, Giriya, Brahmankholi, Premnagar and Juatok in Ukhimath area were the worst hit, he said.

As the calamity struck the region, authorities launched rescue and relief operations with the help of the army and Indo Tibetan Border Police personnel. However, intermittent rains hampered relief and rescue operations, Rautela said.

Around 120 army and ITBP personnel were pressed for rescue operations. A helicopter has been kept on the standby for evacuation.

Communication and power lines were disrupted and traffic along several roads, including national highways in the area, was affected, DMMC officials said.

Rishikesh-Badrinath and Rishikesh-Gangotri highways have been closed due to landslips triggered by incessant rains.  
Expressing shock over the tragedy, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna asked the district magistrate to ensure relief and rescue operations on a war footing and sanctioned Rs 10 crore for the purpose.

Four persons were killed in flash floods triggered by a cloudburst in Bageshwar district last night. A couple was swept away in Kapkot area of the district. In two other incidents, two persons including a woman, were killed in Jagthana and Kharak Tanatoli villages in the district.

A similar tragedy in Uttarkashi district last month had claimed 28 lives and left 6 missing.

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