Uttarakhand: 1500 still stranded in Badrinath, death toll remains unclear

Uttarakhand: 1500 still stranded in Badrinath, death toll remains unclear
Dehradun:  At least 1500 people, including locals, are still stranded at Badrinath and Harsil in flood-hit Uttarakahand and rescue operations are on to bring them to safety. 3,000 people remain missing a fortnight after disaster struck the state and authorities are grappling with the grim task of extricating dead bodies from under debris amid fear of disease.
Here are 10 developments in the story:
  1. More than 100,000 people have been evacuated from the hill state in one of the biggest operations by the Army since June 17. The Indian Air Force said it has airlifted over 18,000 people and dropped more than 3 lakh kg of relief material since the rescue operations began. 1335 villages are, however, still cut-off and authorities are dropping rations there. They plan to distribute 1 month free ration for these villages.
  2. The focus is now on giving last rites to the bodies of those who died in the tragedy. The Uttarakhand government has requested the central government for 100 tonnes of bleaching powder to help dispose the carcasses of animals killed. (Read: Govindghat, now a ghost town)
  3. A 200-strong team of specialists is scouring the temple region of Kedarnath, the epicentre of the disaster, for bodies which may still be trapped under debris or have been swept away by floods and landslides, officials said. The authorities said they have enough staff to deal with the bodies.
  4. The Union Health Ministry has said that there is no outbreak of any water, food or air-borne disease reported from flood-affected areas so far. The ministry also said that teams have been sent to all 13 districts of the state to monitor the situation. Officials said there are enough medicines for those in need. (Full coverage)
  5. The state's weather department has said it had urged the government to move out people to safer areas, warning of heavy rains. According to Uttarakhand Met Department's Director Anand Sharma, the government had also been advised to postpone the Chardham Yatra by four days. (Read)
  6. The Uttarakhand government has said that it did everything it could in its evacuation efforts after the weather department had issued a warning on heavy rains in the state. Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna held a high-level meeting on the tragedy on Sunday.
  7. On Saturday, Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal said that the death toll in the state could go upto 10,000. Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, however, said the figure was inaccurate. "We will never know the exact number of those dead and the number of people who have been buried or washed away," Mr Bahuguna said.
  8. According to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), roads between Badrinath and Rambara, Joshimath and Govindghat and Kund and Chamoli via Ukhimath and Chopta have been repaired and opened for vehicular traffic. However, roads connecting Guptkashi and Gaurikund as well as Uttarkashi and Gangotri are yet to be opened. The state has suffered a loss of Rs 700-800 crore in the floods, Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Subhash Kumar said.
  9. Air Force will begin a partial de-induction of its choppers from July 2 although an adequate strength will remain in the state for rehabilitation work.
  10. In New Delhi, political warring continues with BJP leader Sushma Swaraj saying the Congress government in Uttarakhand is "inept and incompetent" and must be dismissed. The Congress has criticised Ms Swaraj, who is the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha. "Did anyone see LOPs in both Houses express sympathy/visit disaster hit U'khand?" tweeted Union minister Manish Tewari and followed that up with, "This from a party that criticizes visits of Congress leadership." (Read)

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