New Delhi: Heroic rescue efforts by the army have rescued 14,000 people days after Uttarakhand was pounded by landslides and torrential rain. But 60,000 people are still stranded, and some of the worst-affected areas, near the famous Kedarnath temple, remain inaccessible.
Here are the latest developments in the story:
- The focus of the rescue efforts today will be on Gaurikund, which serves as the base camp for those going to the 1000-year old Kedarnath temple, located at a height of 3584 meters near the Chorabari glacier. (Full coverage)
- In a big breakthrough, the army has managed to re-open the stretch between Gaurikund and Sonprayag, the town below it. So people who were stuck near Gaurikund can now be moved down.
- The area near the temple, however, is accessible only by helicopters, which are ferrying groups of eight-nine people at a time. (Here's how you can help)
- The monsoon arrived early in the midst of an annual pilgrim rush for the four holy sites of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamnotri.
- The army and air force have deployed nearly 30 helicopters for rescue efforts, but a shortage of fuel is turning into a concern. Bringing in new supplies is very tough since landslides have destroyed several important roads. (10 dramatic pictures of rescue operations)
- In the Kumaon Region, more than 50 people are stranded on the Pindari Glacier and Sunder Dunga Glacier. 20 soldiers have been assigned to Pindari. (Trying to find someone? Post info here, we will try to help)
- 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.
- Those who have been rescued share horrifying accounts of the devastation. A man who spoke to NDTV in a hospital in Dehradun said he had lost two members of his family including his young daughter. "No matter how quickly we moved, the mud moved faster," he said.
- 40 relief camps have been set up for those evacuated. (Helpline numbers to reach for assistance)
- Pilgrimage to the shrines of Kedarnath and Badrinath will not be able to resume for three years due to the extensive damage, officials of the two shrines say. (No Kedarnath-Badrinath pilgrimage for 3 years, say officials)