Uttarakhand: Bad weather slows down rescue ops; death toll reaches over 830

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Uttarakhand: Bad weather slows down rescue ops; death toll reaches over 830
Dehradun/New Delhi:  Despite rain and overcast skies today, military helicopters continued rescue operations in Uttarakhand today. 11 days after the monsoon struck the hilly state with torrential rain, nearly 6,000 people remain stranded.

Nearly 90,000 people have been rescued in a heroic and vast rescue operation led by the military.
Here are the 10 latest developments in the story:
  1. An air force helicopter crashed this evening killing at least 12 people. The helicopter, a Russian-made Mi-17 was on its way back from Kedarnath, the epicentre of the devastation, to the town of Gauchar which is the hub of relief and rescue operations. (Read)
  2. Minutes after the crash, the Air Force said its rescue operations will continue. Late night reports said that Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne is likely to visit Dehradun and Gauchar to boost the morale of his personnel in the state.
  3. The death toll in the disaster has crossed 830 now. More than 120 bodies were found earlier today in Kedarnath, which was the worst-hit area.Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has warned that as flood waters recede, the full extent of the tragedy will be revealed, and the death toll could cross 1 ,000.
  4. Today's rescue operations focused largely on the nearly 5,000 people who are stranded in and around Badrinath. They are safe because they are in relief camps equipped with food and water, but cannot leave the area  as landslides have cut off access to major roads leading to Dehradun and Rishikesh, from where they could be sent home.
  5. Four choppers made sorties to Badrinath today and evacuated 60 people, officials said. (How you can help: click here)
  6. Pilgrims who are able to walk are trekking from Badrinath to Joshimath, 44 kms away, and then to a base camp in Gauchar, which is another 14 kms.  (Uttarakhand flood: Full coverage)
  7. 50 people are stuck high in the hills in Bhairon Chatti and Garud Chatti, a remote region. The Indian Air Force's specially-trained commandos, Garuds, have been deployed here to speed up rescue work. They will descend from helicopters with ropes to pick up those who are stranded. (Specially trained Air Force 'Garud' commandos deployed for rescue ops)
  8. Congress vice-President Rahul Gandhi spent the night at a base camp in Gauchar last night and visited a relief camp at Guptakashi today. He arrived in Uttarakhand on Monday as Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde warned that visits by VVIPs impede rescue operations, and that political leaders will not be given landing rights.
  9. For the first time today, the Air Force was able to land a big helicopter - the Mi-17 - in Kedarnath to drop off firewood and other material needed for a mass cremation for the hundreds of bodies found here. Officials are worried about the decomposing bodies causing an outbreak of diseases. Local priests will supervise the last rites.
  10. The Supreme Court today ordered the government to scale up the relief and rescue operations. The court is hearing a Public Interest Litigation or PIL on the national disaster.(Supreme Court asks Centre, Uttarakhand to step up rescue operations)




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