This Article is From Jun 25, 2013

Uttarakhand: Helicopters resume rescue operations, thousands still stuck in Badrinath

Dehradun: After heavy rain overnight and this morning, the weather has improved in Uttarakhand paving way for Air Force helicopters to fly and evacuate over 6,000 people who are stranded in different parts of the state, most of them near the holy town of Badrinath. Many of them are now in temporary relief camps with access to food and water.

Here are the latest developments in the story:

  1. Rescue efforts are now focused on Badrinath and Harsil, which is 400 kms away from Badrinath. 1200 people who are at Harsil are waiting to be air-lifted. (Uttarakhand flood: Full coverage)

  2. The first batch of yatris or pilgrims who were stuck near Badrinath have arrived in Gauchar via Joshimath by foot. The pilgrims were escorted through a ropeway and makeshift bridge by soldiers. Nearly 5000 people are still stranded there. Joshimath is 44 kms from Badrinath and 90 kms from Gauchar.
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  3. The national highway that connects Badrinath to Delhi and Rishikesh is blocked in several parts because of fresh landslides. So thousands of pilgrims are waiting to move out of the region.  (Rain and landslides hit rescue ops in Uttarakhand)

  4. 127 more bodies were recovered from Kedarnath, the epicenter of the disaster, today taking the death toll in the state to 822. Search and rescue operation near the famous temple has concluded, officials said. "No survivors remain in the jungles around Kedarnath. They have all been brought out," said Ravinath Raman, an officer involved with the rescue operation. (Death toll climbs to 822)

  5. Over a week after the disaster struck, rescuers have located 50 people in Jungle Chhatti, one of the toughest terrains near Yamnotri in Uttarakhand. Indian Air Force's specially-trained commandos, Garuds, have been deployed here to speed up rescue work.

  6. Congress vice-President Rahul Gandhi spent the night at a base camp in Gauchar last night and did an aerial survey of Kedarnath this morning. 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.

  7. Near the Kedarnath temple, preparations are being made for a mass cremation to ensure that rotting bodies do not lead to an outbreak of diseases.  But their last rites are unlikely to take place today as huge quantities of firewood and ghee, needed for the cremation, have not been airlifted and carried to Kedarnath yet.

  8. Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna has said that he expects the death toll to reach 1,000 after rescuers access the remotest areas which have been cut off by floods.

  9. 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)

  10. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs are being used to scan thick forest areas to help locate any people who are stranded.

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