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40 bodies found in Haridwar, toll in deadly Uttarakhand floods 207

Last updated on: June 21, 2013 16:30 IST

40 bodies found in Haridwar, toll in deadly Uttarakhand floods 207

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Over 200 people have lost their lives while 50,000 people were still stranded in different inaccessible parts of Uttarakhand hit by flash floods and landslides, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said on Friday.

 "So far, 207 people lost their lives. But the toll may go up as debris in many areas is yet to be cleared," he told reporters.

"We have evacuated 34,000 people from various parts of Uttarakhand but 50,000 people are still stranded. Our efforts are continuing to rescue all the stranded people," he said after a review meeting on the situation in Uttarakhand.

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Image: The road connecting Pinderghati to Dehradun has been completely washed away in the floods
Photographs: Razz Rautela/downtoearth.org.in

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40 bodies found in Haridwar, toll in deadly Uttarakhand floods 207

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In Haridwar, Senior Superintendent of Police Rajeev Swaroop said 40 bodies of those killed in the flash floods and incessant rains have been found. “The bodies are taken to the district hospital where each of them is being given a number and an identification tag," the SSP said.

An equal number of bodies are likely to be recovered soon from different areas located along the banks of the Ganga in the holy city, Swaroop said.

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Image: The Kedarnath Temple is pictured amid damaged surroundings by flood waters at Rudraprayag
Photographs: Reuters

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40 bodies found in Haridwar, toll in deadly Uttarakhand floods 207

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Rescuers were focusing on rain-ravaged Kedarnath area where 250 people are stranded before shifting focus to Badrinath where 9,000 people are stuck, officials said.

Terming it as the "worst tragedy of the millennium", Agriculture Minister Harak Singh Rawat said, "It will take us at least five years to recover from the extensive damages caused to the entire infrastructure network in the Kedarnath area which is the worst affected".

Rawat, who had visited the Kedarnath area, said that he spent five hours there and was shocked to see the extent of the damage caused to the buildings and area adjoining the shrine.

"The centre of faith has turned into a burial ground. Bodies are scattered in the area. Only the sanctum sanctorum is intact," he said.

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Image: Flood waters flow next to a residential complex after heavy rains in Uttarakhand
Photographs: Reuters

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40 bodies found in Haridwar, toll in deadly Uttarakhand floods 207

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Thousands of people were still said to be stranded in various parts of the state that was hit by cloudburst and floods in the upper reaches that left several hundreds of homes, resthouses and buildings in ruins and thousands of people missing.

In Himachal Pradesh, rescue operations were on to evacuate stranded people in rain-hit Kinnaur district with two dedicated choppers pressed into service even as reports of more people stuck in interior Pooh, Nako and Kaza areas poured in.

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Image: Stranded vehicles stand in queues after heavy rains in the Himalayan state
Photographs: Reuters

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40 bodies found in Haridwar, toll in deadly Uttarakhand floods 207

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Two Indian Air Force choppers and one state chopper had been deployed for evacuating the stranded but one chopper has developed some problem.

"So far over 550 people have been airlifted but the number is steadily increasing with reports of more people struck at different places, pouring in. Helicopter sorties have also been planned for Pooh, Nako, Kaza and other interior places," officials said.

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Image: Indian Army paratroopers arrive to help in rescue operations at an airfield in Gauchar
Photographs: Reuters

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40 bodies found in Haridwar, toll in deadly Uttarakhand floods 207

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Army patrols were on search and rescue missions to evacuate civilians stranded along the Hindustan Tibet National Highway blocked by landslides.

While 40 people were evacuated till Thursday evening from Nako, Malling, Khab, Dubling, Pooh and Ropa to Army camps, 140 civilians have been airlifted by armed forces' helicopters from Bhabhanagar, Rekong Peo and Rampur.

The BSNL tower at Pooh is being operated under the aegis of the army to facilitate communication by civilians stranded in the area.

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Image: Buildings including a hotel that had been built beside the River Pinder have been obliterated
Photographs: Kailash Devradi/downtoearth.org.in

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40 bodies found in Haridwar, toll in deadly Uttarakhand floods 207

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In Uttar Pradesh, the rivers Ganga and Sharda continue to flow near the danger mark as the government intensified flood relief operations and released Rs 50 lakh for the 13 affected districts.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who took stock of the situation in 13 affected districts -- Saharanpur, Jhansi, Bijnore, Muzaffarnagar, Amroha, Bahraich, Lakhimpur, Meerut, Barabnki, Pilibhit, Sitapur, Balrampur and Gonda -- sanctioned Rs 50 lakh for each district for flood relief operation.

The rivers Sharda at Palia Kalan and Ghaghra at Elgin Bridge and Ayodhya were still flowing above the danger mark.

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Image: Heavy rains have washed away the road beyond the Pinder valley bridge, Uttarakhand
Photographs: Kailash Devradi/downtoearth.org.in

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40 bodies found in Haridwar, toll in deadly Uttarakhand floods 207

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The River Sharda was flowing near the red mark at Turtipar and Rapti at Balrampur while the River Ganga was rising all along its route from Fatehgarh to Allahabad.

Meanwhile, the main link between UP and Haryana remained cut off for the fourth day today due to closure of the bridge over the river Yamuna at Kairana in Shamli district.

The bridge was closed for traffic as the river Yamuna had crossed the danger mark four days ago.


Image: Access to many areas is cut off because of roads and bridges getting washed away by floods
Photographs: Indian Army/downtoearth.org.in

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