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52 Dead as Heavy Rains Batter Uttarakhand, Amit Shah To Visit Flood-Hit State

·5 min read

52 persons have been reported dead as incessant rains continued to batter Uttarakhand on Wednesday, 20 October, The Indian Express reported, quoting government figures.

Visuals emerging from Uttarakhand show large areas inundated by gushing rainwater, which has inflicted heavy damage to the houses, trees, and infrastructure in the region.

Meanwhile, rescue operations by disaster response teams are underway in the state.

According to India Meteorological Department (IMD) data, the districts that observed heavy to extremely heavy rainfall till Tuesday were Champawat, Nainital, Udham Singh Nagar, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Almora, Pauri, and Chamoli.

Meanwhile, Uttarakhand's Ranikhet and Almora districts remained cut off due to the landslides on the connecting roads. Ranikhet was forced to ration fuel for emergency services for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, NDTV reported.

Visuals of a stranded family being rescued by a helicopter in UP's Pilibhit.

Video Editor/Producer: Naman Shah

'Char Dham Yatra Resumed': Uttarakhand CM

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami along with MoS Defence Ajay Bhatt and State minister Dhan Singh Rawat visited cloudburst affected Ramgarh in Nainital district on Wednesday.

During his visit, Dhami said, "Road connectivity to this place is severely affected, we are trying to restore connectivity at the earliest. Post mortem of those who died due to cloudburst has been conducted", news agency ANI reported.

Later, announcing that Char Dham Yatra has also resumed now, Dhami was quoted as saying, "There has been record devastation and loss due to heavy rains in the state. Our priority is to restore all services at the earliest."

Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Police tweeted, "Yamunotri-Gangotri, Kedarnath Dham Yatra has started again. However, due to the closure of Badrinath Highway near Joshimath, the Badrinath Yatra could not start at present. Badrinath Yatra will also become smooth soon."

Large Scale Devastation

A local of cloudburst-hit Ramgarh said that the area has suffered large scale devastation and was quoted as saying, "I have suffered a loss of Rs 40-50 lakhs. A portion of my house is completely damaged. The tank that I built for fish farming is also damaged," ANI reported.

Moreover, Dhami added, "Rs 10 crore each has been sanctioned for all DMs as relief fund so that they make all arrangements immediately. Work is being done on war footing to clear the roads. We are rescuing the tourists who are stranded. Situation is slowly becoming normal at Char Dham Yatra," ANI reported.

"Rainfall has slowed down. There has been massive damage. It'll take time to return to normalcy – roads were washed away, there were landslides, rivers changed their routes, villages were affected, bridges collapsed," he had said, adding that he would be visiting all the locations struck by the floods.

Compensation Announced

"Rs 4 lakh compensation will be given to the families of the deceased. Those who lost their houses will be given Rs 1.9 lakhs. All possible help to be extended to those who lost their livestock," Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has stated.

Moreover, as per the Directorate of Information and Public Relations, Haryana, CM Manohar Lal Khattar announced on Wednesday, that the state will be providing financial assistance of Rs 5 crore to the Uttarakhand government in view of the destruction caused in the state.

Relief Operations Underway

Deputy Commissioner, Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, announced on Wednesday that a team of Kinnaur District Police and Forest Department has been deployed in search and rescue of a group of over a dozen trekkers missing at Lamkhaga Pass between Uttarakhand and Chitkul in Kinnaur.

Later, Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar confirmed that a team of 11 trekkers is missing and that search and rescue operation will be conducted on Thursday after a heli-survey done on Wednesday.

Teams of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed to conduct relief operations in the flood-hit state, in addition to the police.

"Police, SDRF, NDRF teams are working on relief operations; thousands of people have been evacuated," Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar was quoted as saying by ANI.

Dhami, who had conducted an aerial survey of the flood-hit terrain on Tuesday, said, "After on-site inspection of the disaster-affected areas, while holding a meeting with the officials at Circuit House, Kathgodam, they have been instructed to carry out relief and rescue operations with full dedication and readiness."

Nainital-Kaladhungi road, which had been blocked until Tuesday, has been restored for traffic movement on Wednesday, DGP Ashok Kumar told ANI.

"Situation in Garhwal is almost under control, routes have been reopened and 'Char Dham Yatra' will be resumed from tomorrow," he further stated on Tuesday, adding that efforts were on to clear the debris from the roads in order to resume vehicular movement.

Amit Shah To Visit Uttarakhand

Home Minister Amit Shah will be visiting Uttarakhand on Wednesday night in order to assess the situation, ANI reported, citing sources. He will also be holding a review meeting on Wednesday, and will be conducting an aerial survey on Thursday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken to Chief Minister Dhami on the phone on Tuesday, in order to take stock of the flood situation in Uttarakhand.

"I am anguished by the loss of lives due to heavy rainfall in parts of Uttarakhand. May the injured recover soon. Rescue operations are underway to help those affected. I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being," Modi tweeted.

Also Read: ‘Red Alert’ Issued for Uttarakhand, Char Dham Yatra Halted Due to Heavy Rains

(With inputs from ANI.)

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