Uttarakhand: Hundreds of villages still cut-off, government to ask for all-weather choppers

Uttarakhand: Hundreds of villages still cut-off, government to ask for all-weather choppers
Joshimath:  With incessant rains over the last two days hampering relief operations in Uttarakhand, the state government today geared up to requisition choppers which can be flown even in bad weather to take food supplies to affected areas in Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi and Chamoli districts.

As the network of major roads in these districts are still damaged making it impossible for the administration to transport trucks carrying relief material to affected villages especially the ones totally cut off, weather resistant choppers are the only option left for the authorities to ensure food supplies to villages facing foodgrain shortage, an official said.

The state Disaster Management and Mitigation Department will hold an emergency meeting today to discuss how choppers capable of flying even in bad weather can be pressed into service.

Around 400 people are still stranded in villages bordering Nepal and China, which remain cut-off. Relief material cannot be delivered in Munsiyari, Jauljibi, Balwakot, Tapovan areas of Dharchul as the roads here have been washed away.

The pedestrian bridge connecting the area was also washed, and bad weather is making it impossible to air-drop relief materials.  So far, the only help these areas have received has come from the camps of ITBP and SSP.

The bridge near Jauljini, the supply-line for food materials for at least 50 adjoining villages of Nepal, was also washed away.

The team of experts dispatched to Kedarghati for removal of debris and disposal of bodies is also finding it difficult to carry out the exercise due to wet weather and lack of heavy equipment, official sources here said.

The lightweight equipment provided by the NDRF is proving inadequate to remove tonnes of debris in Kedarghati under which bodies may still be lying, they said.

Paucity of foodstuff for personnel engaged in the exercise at the high altitude shrine has further complicated their task, they said.

The food stocks at the Himalayan shrine are fast running out and some of the personnel engaged in the operation are also reported to be sick.

A 13-member police team trying to tear its way through heaps of debris lying on the roads to Kedarnath had to return from Rambada to Gaurikund as it could not go further.

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