Uttarakhand floods: Death toll crosses 550, more than 50,000 feared trapped

India News Bulletin Desk

The torrential rains, landslides and flooding in the north Indian state has resulted in the death of 557 people so far, the government has confirmed.

Although more than 33,000 pilgrims had been rescued from the scene so far, as many as 50,000 people, which includes local villagers, pilgrims, tourists, are thought to be stranded in one of the heaviest rains in 60 years.

Previously, Union minister SushilKumar Shinde said the official death count was 207 but Vijay Bahuguna, Uttarakhand chief minister confirmed that more than 500 bodies have been seen floating in the “slush”. The army team is rescuing stranded people and dead bodies from the debris.

But the officials have not ruled out trouble and challenges during the rescuing operations as there could be another bout of torrential rain anytime soon.

More than 25,000 people have been evacuated from around Kedarnath temple– a popular pilgrim spot which is the worst-hit area.

The rescue efforts are thought to be the military’s largest relief operation involving 55 helicopters, an MI-26 helicopter and about 24 divers.

It would take the authorities up to five years to rebuild the infrastructure around Kedarnath after the unprecedented damage caused by the floods.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced 10bn rupees (£127m) in aid packages for Uttarakhand.

The flood impact was even felt in neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and also in parts of Nepal.


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