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Uttarakhand tragedy: 'We prayed and waited for our fate'

Last updated on: June 20, 2013 13:45 IST

Uttarakhand tragedy: 'We prayed and waited for our fate'

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Vicky Nanjappa

For those who came face to face with the wrath of nature in Uttarakhand, memories of the traumatic ordeal would never leave their minds.

Lucknow resident Sunil Kumar was stuck for three days after a visit to Kedarnath. 

It was nothing but a struggle for survival, he says.

“The first thing that I wanted to do was to call my family and tell them that I am alive. I just sat there waiting for something to happen and it was only after a couple of hours that I realised that I was in the middle of nowhere,” he said.

“The horror reminded me of a movie where the road breaks in front of you. The water kept coming in and the road in front of us was literally being eaten up by the water. The fury was so bad that on one hand the road was falling apart and on the other there were boulders rolling down from the hills.”

“All that I and my friends did was pray. We could not run anywhere, but had to sit and wait for our fate.”

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'We saw hope in their eyes fading out'

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“There were others with us who said that their relatives and friends had gone missing. We saw hope in their eyes fading out as the situation turned worse. There was absolutely no sign of help and none to call. What was worse was that our cell phones went off and that was the end of all communication.”

“I do not want to imagine what my family went through when they were trying desperately to contact me.”

Kumar is now at an ashram where he has been told to wait for a couple of days before they could send him back home.

“I managed to contact my relatives in Lucknow from the phone at the ashram and tell them that I was safe.”

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Food did not matter at all

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At Gangotri, there were a set of around 500 pilgrims who were stranded for over two days before they could get to the ashram, which at the moment houses over 3000 people.

Recounting their horror, some of these survivors said that they lived without food for a long duration.

Food did not matter at all, as the scene that was unfolding in front of us each moment was nothing but horrifying, they said.

Some pilgrims recalled seeing an entire family being washed away in front of their eyes and there really was nothing that they could do about it.

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More people are coming into shelter homes daily

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At the ashram, they feel safe, but it is chaos as people keep coming in.

The ashram authorities have decided to accommodate each and everyone and are running from pillar to post to ensure that no one goes hungry.

They are expecting some help from the authorities who could provide them with some dry firewood and food.

Help though may come in a bit late as the rescue operations are currently focused on the affected areas.

The primary job of the authorities is to track the missing persons first and then make arrangements to fly back pilgrims back to their respective homes and to their dear ones.

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