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Monsoon live: Weather clears, IAF restarts rescue ops in Uttarakhand

10:10 am: Weather clears, IAF begins sorties

IBN7's Smita Sharma reports that the weather is clearing up in Uttarakhand and relief air operations have commenced again on upper the reaches to rescue stranded people.

9. 50 am: IAF choppers to make rescue attempts again

Air Commodore Rajesh Issar has said that rescue operations will resume as soon as the weather conditions at Jolly Grant airport improve. There are also 10 choppers on standby at Sarsawa.

At 6, 45am, rescue attempts were made, five aircraft were airborne but they had to return due to bad weather.

The choppers are making attempts again and hopefully the IAF should be able to push out ten craft in the first go.

Issar also said that the three main affected valleys are Haasil, Kedarnath (worst affected) and Badrinath (not grim).

The main focus for rescue operations is Kedarnath valley, where according to estimates, thousands of people are stranded. Issar also thanked the district administration for providing all necessary supplies.

In the last 24 hours, more than 500 people have been evacuated and another 500 could be evacuated today.

9. 37 am: Kedarnath area is worst affected, says IAF

Harsil sector, which includes Kedarnath, Badrinath are the worst affected areas. Kedarnath has been cleared, but people from upper areas are reaching there. Another 500 people are expected to be rescued today.

By tomorrow, all critical evacuation from Kedarnath will be completed, an IAF official said.

9. 35 am: Uttarakhand CM headed to Switzerland?

Despite the fact that rescue operations continue to be hampered by bad weather and thousands remain stranded, is Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna heading to Switzerland next week?

According to a report in the Indian Express, the Chief Minister has a trip that was planned before the flash floods in the state in which he was to visit the European nation in the company of his wife and some state officials.

Given that its an an official trip, Bahuguna's office had sought clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs.

After the floods ravaged the state, the Ministry had expected Bahuguna's office to inform them that he would cancel the trip, but as of Wednesday they had not received any word to that effect. Therefore the Ministry has gone ahead and cleared the trip.

So was this just a case of his office forgetting to inform the Ministry of External Affairs, or does Bahaguna really think that the situation is so under control that he can fly out? Or subsequently does he think that he has nothing to contribute by staying in his flood ravaged state?

9. 30 am: Road to Uttarkashi re-opens, thousands on their way out

In great news for those stranded in Uttarkashi, the road leading to Uttarkashi, which was blocked due to incessant rains and floods, has  been re-opened and thousand of stranded pilgrims are on their way out.


9. 25 am: Uttarakhand Tourism Minister chopper returns due to bad weather

Uttarakhand Tourism Minister, who was travelling by a chopper to over see rescue operations, had to return back to Dehradun following bad weather. Rescue operations by IAF have also been suspended following bad weather in the area.

9. 15 am: 100 Paratroupers at Gaurikund

the Army has sent a hundred paratroupers to Gaurikund to help rescue stranded pilgrims. Medical help is also being provided to those rescued.

The Army has issued a helpline number for stranded passengers in Uttarakhand: 18004190282

 

9. oo am: IAF operations suspended following bad weather

IAF rescue operations from Jolly Grant in Dehradun have been suspended for now following bad weather in Uttarakhand. There were light showers reported early this morning.

There have been no sorties since this morning.

Meanwhile, in an embarrassment to operation Rahat, IAF choppers sent in for rescue operations ran out of fuel and were stranded in Dehradun.

First person accounts of relatives looking for family members

Another relative Nikhil Patel has travelled to Dehradun from Surat, Gujarat in search of his family members. Eight of his relatives are stuck near Gaurikund while travelling towards Kedarnath - where he says there is an island like situation. He says they were stuck five days ago and they have received no help or food packets as yet.

Dhruv Dubey, a tour operator of Gayatri Tourism from Sidpur, Gujarat has said he and others travelling with him have managed to trek down from Kedarnath and have reached a little ahead of Rambara.

Initially, he was travelling with 150 people, of which 60 who are with him now are safe. Most of them are from Patan, Mehsana and Banaskantha.

Parsumran Shastri is also safe and is now close to Berkot, and Brijesh Acharya, who is close to Badrinath.

 

A combination picture of the Patels, who travelled from Surat, Gujarat. Image: Smita Sharma

A combination picture of the Patels, who travelled from Surat, Gujarat.

 

08. 10 am: IAF choppers out of fuel

In a major embarrassment to Operation Rahat, the IAF choppers deployed to airlift passengers have run out of fuel. The choppers were to assist tourists in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

08. 00 am: Water level of Yamuna recedes

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Army doctors at Dehradun airport. Image: Smita Sharma

The water level of Yamuna river has receded marginally overnight from 207.30 to 207.26, bringing in some relief for those living along the river bed in Delhi.

07. 45 am: Army medical batch at Dehradun

 

A batch of 100 Special Army medical personnel have reached Dehradun airport. They will be move to Rudraprayag and forward areas to assist in rescue operations.

07 . 30 am: Kailash Mansarovar Yatra cancelled

 

The government has cancelled the Kailash Manasarove Yatra after authorities declared roads unsafe for use.

Updates for 19 June end

10.00 pm: Death toll reaches 150, likely to rise

The terrible magnitude of nature's fury in Uttarakhand unfolded today as the death toll rose to 150 with fears that it may go up substantially as large parts the area remained under water while hundreds of houses and buildings lay in ruins.

Skies cleared today enabling stepping up of rescue and relief operations but the efforts were hampered by the vast destruction of the roads caused by landslides and flash floods that damaged hundreds of houses, buildings, hotels and government guest houses.

Several thousand pilgrims from across the country are still stranded in the state as reports came that the Kedarnath temple, one of the four holy dhams, was intact but the temple complex and the Rambada area around it have suffered total destruction.

6.01 pm:  PM announces Rs 1000 cr relief fund for Uttarakhand

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after an aerial survey of the Kedarnath area in Uttarakhand along with Sonia Gandhi said that they saw was distressing and rescuing the stranded was of the utmost priority. He also announced a relief of Rs 1,000 crore for the state of Uttarakhand.

"Our hearts go out to persons who have lost members of their family and property. Priority for authorities is to rescue the stranded and provide aid to those who need it," said Manmohan Singh.

He said that ex-gratia relief of Rs 2 lakh each will be provided to the kin of those who have died and Rs 50,000 each to those who have been injured. He said the Prime Minister's relief fund will also give Rs 1 lakh to people whose house have perished completely and Rs 50,000 to the people whose houses have been damaged.

Singh said, "The Centre and states will work in close co-ordination to not only rescue affected persons but also help them rebuild their lives."

5.15 pm: Burning issue is to rescue my people, says Vijay Bahuguna

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna on Wednesday told the press that the burning issue is to rescue his people.

An aerial view of Kedarnath submerged in flood waters. AP

An aerial view of Kedarnath submerged in flood waters. AP

Pointing out to environmentalists that it was the dams that prevented large areas from being washed away he said, "The burning issue today is how do I rescue people, how do I rehabilitate them, how do I compensate them."

Bahuguna also said that though the Kedarnath temple is safe the city is in debris.

4.52 pm: PM to meet Uttarakhand CM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who conducted an aerial survey of flood stricken Uttarakhand along with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, will meet Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna in an hour to review rescue and relief operations in the flood affected areas of the state.

The premier reached Dehradun at around 3 pm to conduct a tour of flood stricken areas.

4.40 pm: Our first priority is to save all lives, says RPN Singh

MoS Home RPN Singh on Wednesday said that the first priority of the government is to save all the lives that are in danger due to the floods in Uttarakhand, especially in an around Kedarnath.

In a retort to Sushma Swaraj's statement that thousands are stuck without help in the area, he said, "I don't want to politicise the flood situation. The Centre will help the state govt in whatever way possible."

He said, "Army, paramilitary forces doing exemplary rescue work. We will do whatever it takes to get people out of difficult situations."

He also said there is no point discussing what could have been done and all political parties should work towards it.

"State govts have told us there is no shortage of food. We are airdropping food packets," he said and added, "Many have been rescued from in and around Kedarnath, some have been airlifted. Various agencies are evacuating pilgrims."

First person account of Vikas Bajaj who's looking for news of his family

Vikas Bajaj, who is looking for any news about his family.

Vikas Bajaj, who is looking for any news about his family. Image: Smita Sharma/IBN7

Among the many stranded in the flood-hit areas of Uttarakhand is a family of 17 from Akola district, Maharashtra. Vikas Bajaj, is desperately looking out for his family members, including elder brother Manoj Bajaj and his wife.

The last communication Vikas had with his family was on 17 June at around 1 pm. They were returning from Kedarnath and had reached Rambara, when it started raining. Since then he has had no contact with them.

 

Trekked back 25 kms, family in a state of trauma

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The Pandeys who have made it back to Dehradun safely. Image: Smita Sharma/IBN7

Another family from Bhagalpur - the Pandeys - have safely made it back from Kedarnath. The family of four had stared their journey back early 15 June. The Pandeys have reached Dehradun after trekking back 25 kms. The family is still in a state of trauma.

3. 00 pm: PM, Sonia reach Dehradun for aerial survey

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi have reached Dehradun for an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas of Uttarakhand.

3. 15 pm: No rain in Uttarakhand for next two days 

In what comes as a great sigh of relief, the Meteorological Department today announced that there will be no rain in Uttarakhand for the next two days. This comes in as a positive sign for rescue operations that are being carried out 24X7 by Army, IAF, NDRF and ITBP officials.

2. 55 pm: Authorities apprehensive of media coverage

Meanwhile, authorities in flood-hit areas seem apprehensive of allowing sorties for media personnel to Kedarnath. Officials are apprehensive that the media may exaggerate flood conditions in their reports.

Though, on the contrary, there is no media presence yet on the ground in Gaurikund, Kedarnath sector leading to further misinformation and panic.

IBN7 Associate Editor Smita Sharma reports that while the IAF is willing to take journalists up to the higher reaches, it is the DM Purushottam and DG Information Vinod Sharma who are passing the buck.

2. 45 pm: MP govt announces 5 crore relief fund for Uttarakhand

Madhya Pradesh Government has announced a Rs 5 crore relief fund for Uttarakhand. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan came to Dehradun, took stock of tourists from MP stuck here, and left, IBN7 Associate Editor Smita Sharma reports.

2. 30 pmMi 17 choppers may be used to drop medical, water supplies in flood-hit areas

IBN7 Associate Editor Smita Sharma, who is in Uttarakhand told Firstpost that most relief choppers are taking off from Jolly Grant Dehradun and Sarsawa airport near Saharanpur is on standby.

IAF sources have also said that Lighter ALH Helicopters could be used to take it to upper reaches, narrower valley areas.

IAF Mi 17s may also be used to take medical and water supplies to Gauchar (ITBP) post and Dharasu in Uttarkashi.

At some places where immediate evacuation is not possible because of landing problems, NDRF personnel are being dropped to provide interim relief till weather and road conditions improve.

1. 4o pm: 22 dead in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh

NDTV reports that 22 people have been killed in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh due to incessant rains and flash floods. Meanwhile, Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this evening.

1. 35 pm: Maharashtra govt to give Rs 10 crore to Uttarakhand

The Maharashtra government has decided to provide Rs 10 crore as relief fund to the Uttarakhand state government.

Maharashtra will also send a special plane to bring back stranded pilgrims from Uttarakhand.

Meanwhile, 18 choppers have been pressed into service and over 4 tonnes of relief material has been air dropped in Uttarakhand, IAF officials told CNN-IBN.

1. 15 pm: Temple staff missing, dharamshalas destroyed, says temple official

 

Kedarnath-Badrinath committee president has told CNN-IBN that at least 20 of its staff members are missing in the floods. "The temple premises has not been destroyed.. 20 of our staff are missing."

He further said that Dharamshalas around the temple have been destroyed by the floods.

 

 

12. 50 pm: Flood situation is a national disaster, says Rajnath

BJP President Rajnath Singh said the flood situation in Uttarakhand is a national disaster.

"Central and state governments must make all efforts to rescue people and provide immediate assistance," he said.

Helpline numbers:

Uttarkashi: 01374-226126, 226161

Chamoli: 01372-251437

Tehri: 01376-233433

Rudraprayag: 01732-1077

The ITBP has also established helpline and control room for information on Uttrakhand: 011-24362892 and 9968383478.

12. 15 pm: Air evacuation currently on, says IG, NDRF

Sandeep Rathore, IG, NDRF said 390 people were rescued last night and air evacuation is currently being carried out. "Road conditions are bad but they are being repaired and we will be able to rescue more people today," he said.

 

 

11. 40 am: PM directs Food Minister to supply food to flood hit areas

The Congress Core Group meeting today discussed the Uttarakhand flood situation. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed Food Minister KV Thomas to ensure that food supplies reach those affected.

11. 34 am: Aid being sent to flood affected areas: Shinde

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said rescue aid is being sent to the flood affected areas and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi will tour the affected areas at 2 pm this afternoon.

"There are 14 NDRF teams at work and over 4000 people have been rescued by the Army and 62, 000 are still stranded. Food packets and blankets have been sent, local doctors have been arranged at the areas... we are also setting up a Control center in Badrinath," Shinde said.

11. 23 am: Situation in Uttarakhand better today: Chidambaram

Finance Minister P Chidambaram said that the flood situation in Uttarakhand was better today.

"Today's Congress Core group meeting was confined only to flood situation in Uttarakhand, situation in Uttarakhand is better than yesterday," he said.

 

11. 15 am: 4,000 rescued from Govind Ghat, says ITBP

"Have rescued 4,000 people from Govind Ghat are also providing shelter and food," said DG of ITBP Ajay Chadha, on rescue operations in Uttarakhand.

11. oo am: This is Himalayan Tsunami, need more manpower

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna admitted there was lack of manpower to conduct rescue operations and urged the Centre to send in adequate forces.

"I would call this natural disaster the Himalayan Tsunami. We are deploying as many choppers as we can, but their use is limited by the size of the valley. Furthermore once we airlift people to a certain point it becomes a challenge to get them out of there as well, since all roads are blocked."

10. 30 am: 3,000 Sikh pigrims rescued from Hemkund Sahib

 

In Badrinath, around 8,000 pilgrims are still stuck due to road blocks. Over 3,000 Sikh pilgrims have been rescued from Hemkund Sahib and are now taking shelter at the Army relief camp in Joshimath. Communication lines at Badrinath are down.

Uttarakhand Helpline numbers: 0135-2710334, 2710335, 2710233

10. 00 am: Rescue operations at Kedarnath may end by afternoon

Rescue operations at Kedarnath may be completed by this afternoon, but the bigger task is getting pilgrims out of the area as many roads have been blocked.

We should be able to complete rescue operations in Kedarnath by this afternoon, but the main roads are blocked so sending pilgrims home will be a great challenge.." Executive Director, DMMC Piyush Rautela told CNN-IBN.

9.28 am: PM, Sonia to visit Uttarakhand

Prie Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi are likely to conduct an aerial survey of Uttarakhand this afternoon, CNN-IBN reported. The death toll in the state is at around 130, but this number is expected to rise further.

Over 8,000 pilgrims are stuck in Badrinath in the state, the latest reports said. Rescue operations are underway, but bad weather is hampering work. State police and all police stations in affected areas are involved in rescue operations along with the NDRF, ITBP and Army personnel. 800 tourists have been rescued and are at Kedarnath Phata while 125 people are rescued from Guptkashi in Rudraprayag distance

Meanwhile in other parts of North India, roads continue to be blocked and rivers are flowing well above the danger mark.

9.14 am:  Rescue officials hope to complete Kedarnath rescue operations by noon

The Uttarakhand Disaster Management executive has said that the organisation hopes to finish all rescue work in Kedarnath by this afternoon. Speaking to CNN-IBN, the director said that as many as 14 choppers would be utlised in Ramban and Kedarnath.

Rains have ceased in the state, but there is still ever present danger from landslides, officials said.

8. oo am: Yamuna rises above danger mark, set to cross 207 metres today

The Water level in the Yamuna is set to rise over 207 metres - the highest the river has touched in 35 years.

The Yamuna crossed the danger mark in Delhi on Tuesday and the water level is expected to rise further today when the water from the Hathnikund barrage reaches the capital.

Over 1,500 people have been evacuated from low-lying areas in east Delhi like Usmanpur, Yamuna Bazar, Bhajanpura and Shastri Park and relief camps have been set up for their shelter.

7. 15 am: Haryana announces Rs 10 cr relief for Uttarakhand

Haryana government on Tuesday announced Rs 10 crore for relief work in Uttarakhand hit by heavy rains and landslides.

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda talked to his Uttarakhand counterpart Vijay Bahuguna and said that the relief amount would be given to the state tomorrow, an official spokesman said.

Updates for 18 June end

 

9.58 pm: Death toll reaches over 130

A view of the washed off buildings near Kedarnath Dham in Uttarakhand on Tuesday following incessant rains and floods. PTI

A view of the washed off buildings near Kedarnath Dham in Uttarakhand on Tuesday following incessant rains and floods. PTI

The famous Kedarnath shrine was virtually submerged in mud and slush where 50 people died in the unprecedented flash floods that claimed over 130 lives in Uttarkhand and Himachal Pradesh and left over 70,000 pilgrims for Himalayan shrines stranded.

The shrine, one of the four holy dhams, in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand bore the brunt of torrential rains.

About 500 people, including several pilgrims, are said to be missing in the area.

 

9.30 pm:  Sonia Gandhi demans prompt relief measures

Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday spoke to Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Chief Ministers of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand seeking “timely and prompt” relief measures for flood-affected people in the two states.

Gandhi enquired from Shinde and Chief Ministers Virbhadra Singh (HP) and Vijay Bahuguna (Uttarakhand) about the situation arising out of the floods caused by heavy monsoon rains and incidents of cloudburst, the in-charge of AICC’s Communication Department Ajay Maken said in a release.

8.23 pm: PM assures all assisitance to flood hit states

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that all assistance will be provided to the flood hit states of northern India. He spoke to the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand again today and inquired about the flood situation in the state.

He assured the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand of all assistance in rescue and relief operations in the flood hit state.

Singh said that assistance was already being provided by the Army and Air Force to rescue stranded people and to provide relief and directed all agencies of the Union Government to assist in rescue  operations.

4.23 pm: Over 200 pilgrims rescued by IAF choppers

With a slight improvement in the weather today, two IAF choppers ferried about 200 stranded pilgrims from the high altitude Kedarnath shrine to the Fata helipad in the Rudraprayag district.

Chopper services were launched on a war footing with no fresh spell of rain in the morning at most places in Uttarakhand, Rudraparayag SDM LN Mishra said. So far, 200 pilgrims stuck in Kedarnath have been brought in two IAF choppers to Fata helipad from where the sick have been taken to the nearest health facilities, he added.

The Bodies of three ITBP jawans and two police constables were also recovered from the debris at Kedarnath, official sources said, adding these casualties occurred yesterday.

Two IAF helicopters and an equal number of private helicopters have been pressed into service in Chamoli district where a huge number of pilgrims are still stranded.

Private choppers have been hired to provide food and essential commodities to people stranded in Pulna and Bundar villages en route to Hemkund Sahib.

State Health Minister Yashpal Arya visited the affected areas in Uttarkashi and assured people he had asked for more choppers from the State Tourism Minister Amrita Rawat to be used in relief and rescue operations.

Apart from choppers, JCB dozers may also be utilised to shift stranded pilgrims to safe places, he said

3.33 pm: More rescue personnel being sent to affected areas, says RK Singh

Home Secretary RK Singh has said that rescue operations are being intensified, adding that 12 more NDRF teams have reached affected areas, with more personnel on the way. Speaking to media, the home secretary added that another review meeting would be held to assess the situation today.

Singh added that in addition to the NDRF teams, rescue sorties by choppers had also started, the first of which had carried food and medicines and that they were in touch with the Chief Secretary in Uttarakhand.

2.57 pm: 5 security personnel killed in a rescue operation in Kedarnath

CNN-IBN has just reported that five security personnel have been killed in a rescue operation in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand, where efforts are underway to help tens of thousands of stranded pilgrims. No further details were immediately available.

2.04 pm: Continuing rains, floods take death toll to 73

Rain fury today claimed 11 more lives in the north, taking the toll from the monsoons to 73, even as 71,440 pilgrims bound for the Himalayan shrines remained stranded in monsoon-ravaged Uttarakhand apart from 1700 people stuck in Himachal Pradesh.

Rescue efforts picked up momentum in flash flood and landslide hit areas of Himachal and Uttarakhand with a let up in the rains and decrease in water level in the Ganga and its tributaries, the whole of Uttarakhand still wore a marooned and devastated look.

Flashfloods, cloudbursts and subsequent landslips have claimed 44 lives in Uttarakhand, left as many injured and fully damaged 175 houses across the state.

Rudraprayag was the worst hit where 20 people died and 73 buildings including 40 hotels along the banks of the Alaknanda were swept away by the swirling waters of the river.

12.15 pm: National Highway 73 under water

Hundreds of people are stranded on the NH 73 the highway connecting Haryana and Uttar Pradesh due to floods caused by overflowing of the Yamuna river, say reports just coming in. Further details are awaited.

A NDRF spokesman told CNN-IBN that although the collapse of many bridges and roads had stranded people, most of the places have abundant food and medical supplies and they are on communication networks."The local administration, the local police, all are providing the relief and specialised relief by the paramilitary, ITBP, the NDRF and the army have been assisting in evacuating people to the safer grounds right now", he said.

11.54 am: Himachal CM evacuated, 1700 still stranded

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who was stranded in tribal Kinnaur district for nearly 60 hours due to landslides triggered by incessant rains, was evacuated this morning even as 1700 people remained stranded at various places.

A chopper hired by the Congress party airlifted the chief minister this morning as rains abated and weather cleared this morning and about a dozen persons, including some old and ailing persons were brought to Rampur in the state helicopter, officials said.

Bharat Khera, Secretary (General Administration) coordinating the rescue operations, said that the state chopper has been pressed into service and people stranded at Pooh in the border area and other places are being evacuated.

"We are trying to evacuate the sick and old persons and tourists on priority," he said.

About 1700 people, including a large number of tourists, were stranded at various places in Kinnaur districts for the past three days and efforts were on to rescue them.

The Hindustan-Tibet National Highway, which has been breached and blocked beyond Tapri at several points due to massive landslides triggered by incessant rains, was unlikely to be opened in the next two three days and Public Works Department and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) men are working overtime to clear the road, said an official of PWD.

Kinnaur district received 204 mm of rains yesterday, which is unprecedented in the history of the tribal district.

11.30 pm: Rescue operations stepped up in Uttarakhand

Air force and NDRF personnel have left Dehradun for flood affected areas even as estimates come in that properties worth Rs 200 crore have been destroyed by the water. One army rescue personnel said that water levels had slightly lessened

Over 45,000 pilgrims are stranded across Uttaranchal and the army is in the process of setting up relief camps.

9.30 am: District Magistrate orders evacuation of low lying areas in Dehradun

The Dehradun district magistrate has ordered the evacuation of low lying areas, even as heavy rains continued to batter North India and Uttarakhand in particular.

Search and rescue efforts have been stepped in the state, even as thousands of people have been stranded due to floods and landslides. At last count the number of dead was at 37 and close to 60,000 tourists and pilgrims have been stranded at various locations.

Over 25,000 people pilgrims are stuck in Chamoli and Badrinath alone.

However the bad weather is said to be severely hampering rescue teams.

Shashidhar Reddy from the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) said that the rain situation had worsened within 45 minutes and that more rain was expected in the next three days. "The NDRF is on contact with state government and relief officers", he said.

A high alert has also been issued in Uttar Pradesh due to a sudden surge in the water levels of the Ganga, Yamuna and Sharda rivers. CNN-IBN reported that due to the water levels in the Yamuna river rising over the danger level mark people in low lying areas would be evacuated by noon.

End of updates from 17 June, 2013

8.10 pm: Harbhajan Singh among stranded pilgrims in Uttarakhand

Cricketer Harbhajan Singh is one among the many pilgrims and tourists who have been stranded in the upper reaches of Uttarakhand due to landslides and heavy rains.

The cricketer is now staying put at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) camp at Joshimath which houses the paramilitary's first battalion.

He has taken shelter with the border guarding troops since yesterday when he was returning from the Hemkunth Sahib gurudwara here and could not go beyond because of inclement weather, a senior official said.

The bowler is now spending time interacting with ITBP jawans and playing badminton with them, they said.

7.50 pm: Rescue operations underway as missing toll reaches 60

Landslides and unfavourable conditions have made it almost impossible for rescue teams to reach the flooded areas.

Times Now reported that there are around 60 people missing in Uttarakhand. Fields have been submerged as the all the tributaries of the Ganga are overflowing.

5.12 pm: The Indo-Tibetan Border Police joins Uttarakhand rescue efforts

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has rushed 500 personnel, including medical staff, for rescuing pilgrims and locals stranded at various places in Uttarakhand due to landslides and heavy rainfalls.

"Thousands of pilgrims stranded near Govind Ghat, enroute to Hemkund Sahib, were rescued by our personnel and local administration in a search and rescue operation lasting till mid-night. They are being accommodated at various shelters in Joshimath," ITBP spokesperson Deepak Pandey said.

Shelter and emergency medical centre to accommodate about 300 people has been established at the ITBP camp in Joshimath and about 250 yatris has been accommodated in Joshimath gurudwara, he said.

The force, which has put its two battalions on alert in Uttarakhand, has deployed commanders to supervise the relief and rescue operations in the state and upper reaches of Himachal Pradesh.

The situation is also being constantly monitored by the force headquarters.

The ITBP said a number of 'yatris' and vehicles are stranded en-route to Badrinath as the road at Pandukeshwar, 30km from Joshimath, towards Badrinath, has been blocked after landslides.

Pilgrims have been stopped at Kedarnath and Gaurikund. The paramilitary force along with local administration is providing drinking water, food and medical help to them.

A rafting team of ITBP, the spokesperson said, also rescued 24 people from Budi village, 12km from Dehradun, where a multi-storey building was washed away early this morning.

Twelve teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), comprising 540 personnel, have reached landslide and heavy rain-affected areas of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. "The commandant of these units is already in talks with the local authorities and we will press more men if the situation demands," a senior NDRF official said.

4.20 pm: NDRF, Army work together as weather hampers rescue operations

The National Disaster Relief Force has said that bad weather is forcing rescuers to change plans, as heavy operative machinery could not be moved owing to the weather conditions.

The army says it has already rescued hundreds of pilgrims from Joshimath in Uttarakhand, while others en route to Kedranath have been given food and shelter.

2. 48 pm: Five more bodies recovered from Kedarnath

Five more bodies were recovered today from near the Himalayan shrine of Kedarnath even as the chardham yatra remained suspended for the second day due to landslips.

Authorities in Chamoli district said the toll may climb as about 50 persons from different villages in the area are missing and rescue operations are on.

They said five bodies were recovered from Basukital adjoining Kedarnath.

The Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath motor way and pedestrian routes are blocked at about a dozen places by rocks and boulders that have come down as part of the debris from collapsed houses and landslides triggered by rains continuing for the last 36 hours. (PTI)

2. 04 pm: 50 people missing, 11 confirmed dead in Uttarakhand

Over 50 people are missing and 11 have been confirmed dead in Uttarakhand, National Disaster Management Authority Vice Chairman Shashidhar Reddy said.

He also said NDRF officials are finding it difficult to move heavy machinery to the site but they are constantly in touch with the state officials of Uttarakhand.

"12 of our teams are there already, ITBP and Army units have also reached Uttarakhand," he said.

Reddy also said that over 20,000 pilgrims are stranded and 200 vehicles have been washed away by the Alaknanda river.

12.48 pm: Flood alert in UP as Ganga flows above danger level

A flood alert has been called in Uttar Pradesh as the Ganga is flowing 1.55 metres above the danger level in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, reported the Times of India.

Heavy rains in the state have already claimed ten lives, while at least 60 more people are believed to be missing.

12:10 pm: National Disaster Relief Team unit sent to Thiruvananthapuram

A special unit from the Arakkonam-based battalion of the National Disaster Response Force will arrive here within a few days to help tackle the crisis situation caused by the strong monsoon rains in the coastal areas of Kerala's capital.

The 24-member contingent would be led by Commandant M K Verma, an Assistant Commandant, four team commanders and 18 personnel, a release from the office of Union Minister of state for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor, said.

The team would visit affected areas, make assessments, consult police, revenue and other officials and work out a long-term programme for relief work.

There had been a number of incidents of damage to houses and erosion of beaches due to inundation of many stretches along the coast during the past few days. (PTI)

12.oo pm: Himachal Pradesh CM stranded in  Sangla Valley

Incessant heavy rains wreaked havoc in tribal Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh where eight persons were feared dead in landslides that blocked important roads leaving Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh stranded in Sangla Valley.

About 1000 tourists and locals were stranded at various places, including 800 in Sangla alone and heavy rains were hampering the rescue operations, officials said today.

11.15 am: 10 killed in Uttarakhand, over 60 missing

10 people have been killed in Uttarakhand as incessant rains lashed the hill state causing landslips in the higher reaches and sweeping away several roads and bridges in Uttarkashi and Chamoli districts leading to suspension of the Char Dham Yatra.

Three persons of a family were killed when a house caved in at New Mithi Beri in Prem Nagar area of Dehradun this morning, Prem Nagar SHO Vikas Rawat said.

Over 60 people are still said to be missing.

Representational image: PTI

Representational image: PTI

Meanwhile the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has directed senior officials of protocol department to contact Uttarakhand government for providing relief to pilgrims from the state who were stranded near Uttar Kashi due to heavy rains in that state.

Both Mandakini and Alaknanda, major tributaries of the Ganga, are flowing over the danger mark and the bridge connecting Rudraprayag and Gaurikund has been damaged leading to its closure, she said.

Kedarnath yatra has been suspended in view of bad weather, the officer said.

Thousands of pilgrims headed for the Himalayan shrines of Gangotri and Yamunotri got stranded as the routes had to be closed due to landslips at various points including Pipalmandi, Baraki and Nalupani.

10.51 am: Commuters to face further woes as Mumbai autos demand steep 'monsoon' rates

Mumbaikars who are already having to deal with incessant rains, flooded roads and delayed trains may have one more misery to add to the list, as Mumbai’s auto unions decide on whether to stay off the roads starting Tuesday.

The Times of India added that “Rao’s union has demanded a minimum hike of Re 1 in autorickshaw fares, “three times the fare (Rs 45 minimum fare)” during the monsoon, payment of salary arrears and bonus to BEST staffers and Sixth Pay Commission salaries for BMC workers.”

Read more here

8.30 am: Airport or Ferry? In Delhi's T3 the lines are blurring

Incessant heavy rains have led to heavy water-logging at the Indira Gandhi Airport (IGI) airport in New Delhi, causing inconvenience to passengers who waded through knee deep water while the baggage handling system was left crippled.

The monsoon arrived in Delhi a fortnight ahead of schedule, with the national capital recording around 36.6 mm rainfall. But the airport witnessed an “unprecedented” rainfall of 117.8 mm in four and half hours, between 1 pm and 5.30 pm.

The airport experienced 62.8 mm of rains between 1 pm and 2.30 pm and 55 mm between 2.30 pm and 5.30 pm.

The amount of rain water, combined with poor drainage in the surrounding area and the topography of the airport led to a back flow of water towards the Terminal 3 of the airport.

“Incessant rains, poor drainage system in surrounding area and comparative low elevation of the airport led to back flow of water, which led to flooding at terminal area,” an airport official said.

Services at the domestic arrivals were the most affected due to flooding which forced airport authorities to close the functioning of four baggage belts, causing inconvenience to passengers.

 

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