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Flash floods in Uttarakhand; 10 dead, 38 missing

Source: PTI
Last updated on: August 04, 2012 15:25 IST
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Ten people were killed and 38 others went missing as incessant rains battered Uttarakhand on Saturday triggering landslides, cloud bursts and flash floods which flattened homes and stranded hundreds of pilgrims with the Chardham Yatra coming to a grinding halt.

The Garhwal region bore the brunt of the natural calamity.

The state government has sounded a high alert after the MET department's warned of very heavy rains and sought the help of the army to mitigate the sufferings of the people.

Nineteen labourers of the state-run UJVN Ltd's Assi Ganga hydel project went missing following a cloud burst in the upper hills of Uttarkashi district.

Similarly, 19 other people also went missing from Gangori, Dunda, Uttarkashi town and Barkot areas in the district.

"We have launched a manhunt to trace the missing people," said R Rajesh Kumar District Magistrate Uttarkashi.

Elsewhere in the state, 10 people were killed in different incidents following heavy rains during the past 24 hours, said sources in the Disaster Management and Mitigation Centre in Dehradun.

In the disaster-prone Uttarkashi district, flash floods hit several low-lying areas creating havoc there.

At least three fire brigade department personnel and two others were killed at Gangori area even as Chardham yatra to Gangotri and Yamunotri remained suspended for the second day on Saturday.

In Gangori area of Uttarkashi, Bhagirathi is flowing above the danger level with people being evacuated to safer areas.

Nearly 30 homes were washed away in the floods with the Gangori bridge also collapsing.

Two more people were killed in Dunda area of Uttarkashi district.

While two children were killed in a house collapse at Kararnprayag area of Chamoli district early on Saturday, another child was washed away in flash floods at Pokhri area of the district where landslides continue to hit blocking highways leading to Badrinath.

Hundreds of Badrinath pilgrims were stranded at various places at Patalganga, Lambagar and Birahi due to fresh landslips.

The yatra for Kedarnath shrine was also suspended, the sources said.

The government has launched relief and rescue operations but heavy rains were hampering them, top officials said.

Food packets are being sent to the affected people.

Nearly 250 families have already been taken to safer areas in different areas of Uttarkashi and Chamoli districts.

Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna was monitoring the situation and has asked the concerned authorities to launch rescue and relief operation in the disaster-hit areas.

He also asked concerned officers to reopen roads leading to pilgrim shrines so that the stranded pilgrims can go home.

Bahuguna also asked the special Chardham cell set up at the secretariat to send him a daily report regarding the situation in the Garhwal region.

The CM said his government would provide food and other essential items to the stranded pilgrims.

Landslides are common in fragile hills of Garhwal region.

Last year, the government had suspended the Chardham Yatra all the four shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri following heavy landslides and torrential rains for nearly one week.

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