Amdist stories of pain and tragedy, there is some good news.
IBN-7's Smita Sharma reports that all 10 members of the Gupta family from Faridabad were rescued today by the army from Gaurikund where they had been perched atop the mountain for the last five days. When they were rescued, the family had some horrific stories to narrate but they were happy to have been together and happier still to have stayed alive.
The children gave messages to their best friends that they would see them soon, once their school reopens in July.
But it wasn't the same for everyone. Some of the survivors of the massive Uttarakhand floods cried in an emotional outburst when they returned today with some member of their family or fellow pilgrims and tourists after going through a harrowing five-day ordeal.
As a rescue helicopter touched down the helipad in Uttarakhand capital on a sombre, cloudy day in the hills, out stepped a group of five adults and three children. Among them, a man in his late thirties. His face heavy with sorrow he bursts out crying the moment he disembarks. What was surely a moment of joy for a survivor was starkly not so.
"Take me back, I want to go back... My two children, my wife Rita, my parents are still stranded there with seven others." That is all Amit Pande of Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh could say before being choked by a fresh spasm of tears.
That is the situation of countless survivors who have been trickling into Dehradun; many have still to locate their kin and friends with whom they had embarked on a trip to the hills.
Everybody has horrifying stories to tell and it is not just the survivors.
For instance, Mansi from Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur. She had come to Sahasradhara accompanied by a family member and two photographs of her sister, brother-in-law and their son posing together. All three are missing.
She had last spoken to her sister on Tuesday when the latter managed to call on her way down from Kedarnath, the epicentre of the massive floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains. "They said they have climbed down 4-km on foot, but rescue teams were yet to reach them. They have no food, no water. They mentioned seeing bodies lying around the temple area.
"Please find them and rescue them," she could not fight back the tears as she requested a police officer to help her. "I don't have any other siblings. She is my only sister," she pleaded.
Officials in-charge of rescue operations said that their mission was on at full throttle.
The machines at the helipad were all privately-operated ones. Each could at best carry a handful of people. Grossly inadequate when compared to the colossal magnitude of the human tragedy caused by nature's fury on the fateful night of June 17.
But for eyes scouring the skies for the conditions to clear, the helicopter seems to be the only hope. Although Rakesh Sharma, the Uttarakhand Principal Secretary in-charge of rescue operations, said that a land route from Gaurikund till Rishikesh had been cleared.
"30,000 people are coming down by road. 4,000 people, who are among the critical cases, are still left in and around Kedarnath. But all will be rescued by today or tomorrow," Sharma said at Sahasradhara.
Whatever sliver of hope is available, people appear to be clinging to it with an intensity of faith only visible when something precious is at stake.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Jun 21, 2013 22:07:15 IST