New Delhi: The Army, which has been at the forefront of rescue operations in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, today located 1000 people in mountains between Gaurikund and Rambara in Kedarnath. Some of them have been rescued by the Army's special forces. Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has said that 550 people have died across the state; reports say 50,000 are still stranded. The government has warned that the death toll could rise dramatically as flood waters recede and rescue workers reach isolated areas.
Here are the 10 developments in the story:
- Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today reviewed the situation in the state. While admitting, there has been a lack of coordination between government agencies, he set a three-day deadline to the agencies engaged in evacuation work to complete the rescue work. (Full coverage)
- With the Meteorological department's warning of more rain and storms from Sunday or Monday, the various agencies on the ground are operating with urgency. (Read)
- Rescuers are scrambling to evacuate about 8,000 people who are still trapped in the Kedarnath region. (Read) 5,000 people are awaiting rescue in the holy town of Badrinath.
- More than 50,000 people have been rescued in recent days, the government said, with unconfirmed reports of another 14,000 people "missing" - there is no information about their whereabouts. The road between Uttarkashi to Harsil is still not open to traffic due to landslides at a number of places. The Army will today focus on this 74 km stretch. (Trying to find someone? Post info here, we will try to help)
- Rescuers found 41 bodies floating in the Ganga at Haridwar on Friday morning. The death toll has risen to 550 with another 50,000 people stranded. (Helpline numbers to reach for assistance)
- Uttarakhand spokesman Amit Chandola said nearly 27,000 people have been evacuated from the worst-hit area around the Kedarnath temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple at the top of the Garhwal Himalayan range has escaped major damage, but the area around is covered in debris.
- 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". He said of the temple, "The centre of faith has turned into a burial ground. Bodies are scattered in the area."
- 55 helicopters are being used in what is the military's largest rescue and relief operation ever. An Mi-26 - the largest helicopter in the world - is being used to fly fuel to smaller choppers, and to airlift equipment needed to clear and repair roads and bridges which were washed away. Two elite teams of Navy divers - each consisting 12 divers - have also been sent to aid in rescue efforts. 16 more will join them today. (10 dramatic pictures of rescue operations)
- Two 30-metre-long bridges are being airlifted to Kedarnath and Joshimath. Footage shows people in mountain areas trying to walk to safer ground, aided by soldiers, using ropes to climb down cliffs.
- At the airport in Dehradun, the state's capital, angry families waiting for relatives to arrive on rescue helicopters say they are being offered little information and assistance by the government. Lists of people rescued are inaccurate, they say. Residents of the area are helping out by cooking meals and providing them for families who've been waiting at the Jolly Grant Airport for days. (Here's how you can help)