Cloudburst in Uttarakhand: Pilgrims stranded as Gangotri-Kedarnath road was closed down

Heavy rains triggered a series of cloudbursts in Tehri district of Uttarakhand on Saturday, damaging hundreds of houses in over half a dozen villages in Balganga valley and disrupting the Char Dhaam Yatra leaving hundreds of pilgrims stranded but there was no report of any human casualty.

District Magistrate in-charge Ahmed Iqbal said, "Ghansali SDM Vinod Kumar alongwith a team of police personnel has been sent to the affected area to take stock of the situation".

Houses buried under rubble after a clouburst at Ghansali in Sialkot, Tehri on Saturday. PTI

Houses buried under rubble after a clouburst at Ghansali in Sialkot, Tehri on Saturday. PTI

The cloudbursts took place at about 3 pm on Saturday over Kothiara village bringing around 50 residential houses under loads of debris. About a 100 animals were also buried alive under the debris.

People ran for their lives as the cloudbursts took place and so far, there has been no report of any loss of human life. Iqbal said, "as the cloudbursts took place during daytime, people were alert enough to run to safety."

Similar cloudbursts took place at Kemra and Siliara villages washing away the Siliara motorbridge.

Many pilgrims were reportedly stranded on Saturday and properties were reportedly damaged after the Gangotri-Kedarnath road closed down following a cloudburst in Tehri district, reports said.

In Ghansali area of Tehri, traffic has been stalled as all roads leading to the Kedarnath Temple were closed after the cloudburst. According to News 18, many houses were damaged due to the rains in Kotiara and Sitapur regions.

Cloubursts are common in Uttarakhand but the visuals also bring back horrifying memories of the catastrophic floods in Uttarakhand in 2013 which was caused due to a cloudburst.

No casualties have been reported so far, Vinod Sharma, sub-divisional magistrate of Ghansali told News 18. According to India Today, the government is worried about the current incident as cloudburst does not usually take place during summer and especially after a massive forest fire. The forest fires began in February and destroyed nearly 4,048 hectares of land in Uttarakhand.

Uttarakhand government has initiated disaster management efforts to control the situation in the region.

A number of two wheelers and cars were also buried under tonnes of debris that inundated the villages. Two storeys of Ambedkar Hostel were buried under the rubble. Twenty residential houses in Kemra and fifty in Siliara came under rubble.

A flash flood razed the Brightlands Public School building in Gir village, Iqbal said.A large number of residential houses at Gangar village were buried under the debris but so far there have been no reports of human casualties.

SDM Vinod Kumar said, "The Ghansali-Akhori motor road has also been blocked because of heavy rains and the stranded char dhaam pilgrims are being evacuated to safety".

Meanwhile, a thunderstorm coupled with rain hit the Dehradun, capital city of Uttarakhand and neighbouring areas on Saturday uprooting trees and disrupting power supply across the region. Clouds gathered in the sky towards the evening and strong gusts of wind coupled with showers lashed the town.

Trees fell on overhead electricity wires in parts of the city affecting power supply. The rain gave a respite to city dwellers from weeks of scorching heat as the temperature dipped.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: May 28, 2016 21:32 PM

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