Thousands await rescue in flood-hit Uttarakhand

NEW DELHI Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:09pm IST

1 of 3. Soldiers rescue stranded people after heavy rains in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand June 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Authorities were struggling on Friday to rescue thousands of people stranded in flood-hit regions of northern India with little access to food or drinking water.

Floods and landslides, caused by heavier-than-usual monsoon rains, left pilgrims and tourists trapped this week, mostly in Uttarakhand. Updated official numbers were not available but media reports estimated the number of dead to exceed 1,000.

"More than 33,000 pilgrims and tourists have been evacuated to safer places," Manish Tewari, minister for information and broadcasting, told a news conference on Friday.

Special trains have been arranged to transport stranded passengers for free, Tewari said.

Television reports said a rescue helicopter crashed in Uttarakhand on Friday evening. No casualties were reported.

People remained stranded in some areas as flood waters and blocked roads made it difficult for rescue teams to reach them. Some survivors told NDTV news channel that they had no food for five days. Thousands of pilgrims and tourists had been trapped by the floods while visiting popular Hindu shrines in the region.

An Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) official told reporters on Friday most of the people stranded would be evacuated in a couple of days.

Internet search engine Google launched a version of its Person Finder app on Thursday to help people track missing relatives in the region.

In newspaper advertisements on Friday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sought public help for disaster aid, appealing for generous donations to his National Relief Fund.

Singh had announced a 10-billion-rupee aid package for the state on Wednesday after he and Congress president Sonia Gandhi did an aerial survey of the flood-hit region.

Media reports said Gandhi had asked Congress party lawmakers to donate a month's salary for relief efforts. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde is expected to visit the state on Saturday.

Monsoon rains could ease soon after hitting 89 percent over averages in the week to June 19, according to weather office sources, in a third straight week of downpours.

This year's monsoon has drenched the country in record time, almost a month ahead of schedule.

(Reporting by India Online team; Editing by Tony Tharakan)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
satyapal wrote:
Instead of making aerial surveys, ministers should coordinate from ground, so that relief works are not hampered by their visits.

Jun 21, 2013 8:33pm IST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Gaza

TOP SHOWCASE

PM faces Criticism

PM faces Criticism

Modi under fire for silence over religious incidents.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Russia says Lavrov, Kerry agree on need for swift ceasefire in Ukraine.  Full Article 

Formula One

Formula One

Ricciardo wins dramatic Hungarian GP.  Full Article 

MH17 Crash

MH17 Crash

Fighting complicates Ukraine crash probe, U.S., EU prepare Russia sanctions.  Full Article 

Wearable Gadgets

Wearable Gadgets

Swatch plans fitness-based touch wristwatch, CEO tells paper.  Full Article 

Box Office

Box Office

'Lucy' pummels 'Hercules' to win U.S. weekend box office race.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage