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Uttarakhand floods: 550 deaths so far, rescue operations on war footing, says Shinde

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who was in Uttarakhand today, said various rescue teams were working to provide relief to the thousands of people who are still stranded in different parts of the state.

"Despite bad weather army, NDRF, ITBP teams are landing and conducting rescue operations...Operations are on a war footing," Shinde told reporters.

As per reports they had received about 200 people were stuck in Jangalchetti, near Gaurikund, and rescue teams were presently working to ensure food is "somehow provided to them", Shinde said.

The Home Minister said that they had recorded 550 deaths in the state till yesterday, 392 people were reported  injured and 334 people are still missing.

Describing the widespread damage in the state, Shinde said 1,751 houses, 147 bridges and 1307 roads have been damaged in the floods.

Shinde was visiting the state to review rescue operations. PTI

Shinde was visiting the state to review rescue operations. PTI

Shinde said that 73, 000 people have been taken to safety so far  and an additional 30,000-32,000 still stranded.

"We are hopeful of evacuating all people in the next two days," he said.

The minister brushed aside criticism that the floods in the state were a result of damage caused to the ecosystem there and it was 'man-made'.

"I don't think it is a man-made disaster. There have been two cloud bursts. How can that be called a man-made disaster," he said.

He also said that given the ongoing rescue efforts and weather conditions it was not advisable for any political leaders to carry out aerial surveys of the areas affected by the disaster.

"Let the police and army work professionally. We should not disturb them right now," Shinde said.

He said that if he was unable to travel to affected areas then that should apply to other leaders as well. Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP's senior leader Narendra Modi was expected to carry out an aerial survey of the affected areas.

The Home Minister also promised all the funds needed to carry out relief operations.

"We are willing to provide as much funds are needed, for the Uttarakhand flood relief," he said.