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Uttarakhand: 16 dead in two days as heavy rainfall destroys homes, blocks roads

·4 min read

Heavy rainfall for three straight days has led to chaos and disaster across the hilly state of Uttarakhand, prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak to Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and take stock of the situation.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said that 16 people have been killed so far €" of which 11 died today and the rains has led to flooding on roads, destruction of bridges and overflowing rivers leaving locals and tourists stranded.

The Indian Meteorological Department has predicted moderate to severe thunderstorms accompanied with lightning and gusty winds for the state today.

Uttarakhand's iconic Nainital Lake has overflowed and visuals from news agency ANI showed water rushing into nearby houses and streets.

The Badrinath National Highway in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand has been completely blocked due to debris at seven places following incessant rains over the past 48 hours, the district administration said on Tuesday.

Some parts of the state have also been plunged into darkness owing to a power cut that began on Monday.

As a precautionary measure, the Badrinath Char Dham Yatra has been halted and passengers en route to Badrinath Temple were stopped at safe places. On Monday, three labourers from Nepal died and two were injured when rubble flowing down from a field above due to the rains buried them alive.

In another incident, two people were killed when their house collapsed, following a landslide in Selkhola in Champawat district, the State Emergency Operation Centre said.

The water level in the Nandakini river has also risen significantly, raising an alarm.

Moreover, the state has announced that the Indian Army will be called in for rescue operations.

Earlier in the day, Mustafa Quraishi -- an independent photographer -- shared images on his Instagram feed of stranded guests at the Lemon Tree Hotel near the Jim Corbett National National Park. The images show guests being depressed as the building is submerged and cars are floating away.

According to ANI there were 100 people stuck at the Lemon Tree (located between Ramnagar and Ranikhet) and all have been rescued.

Other visuals, posted by National Disaster Response Force chief Satya Pradhan, show villages and towns almost washed away by the strength of the floods.

It was also reported that the State Disaster Response Force along with the Uttarakhand police rescued 22 devotees stuck at Jungle Chatti amid the rainfall, while returning from Kedarnath Temple.

SDRF Sonprayag had received the information late on Monday that some tourists had been stranded and they immediately left for Jungle Chatti and rescued the tourists amid the torrential rain.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami had visited the state's disaster control room in Dehradun to take stock of the situation on Monday.

On Monday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah also spoke to Dhami on the phone to get an update on precautionary steps being taken by the state government in view of the heavy rain alert and assured him of all possible help.

The rain in Uttarakhand has triggered memories of the deadly 2013 floods and landslides, which had become the country's worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami.

The unusual high rain had caused floods that had killed over 5,000 people.

With inputs from agencies

Also See: Uttarakhand floods: Bahuguna visits Kedarnath with experts

Uttarkhand cloudburst: 14 bodies recovered, 39 feared dead

NGT raps U'khand govt, calls flood reports 'self complimentary'

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