Thousands still missing in India floods

2013-07-01 11:23

New Delhi – Indian rescue workers were preparing to rescue the last 200 located survivors in the flood-ravaged Uttarakhand state today, but 3 000 people were still missing, officials and news reports said.

More than 108 000 stranded people have been rescued in air and foot operations since early monsoon rains on June 15 and June 16 caused landslides and flash floods, trapping pilgrims, tourists and villagers in the higher reaches of the mountainous state.

Piyush Rautela, the director of the state’s disaster management division, said: “200 locals are still stuck in the Badrinath area and operations will be completed soon.

“Our focus has now shifted to rehabilitation and rebuilding lives, restoring road links and power.”

Authorities were working to deliver food and medicine to 100 villages cut off by the monsoon.

There was no official death toll, but Federal Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde put the number at 900.

Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal said as many as 10 000 may have died, but the state’s Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said that estimate was inaccurate.

“We will never know the exact number of those dead and the number of people who have been buried or washed away,” Bahuguna was quoted as saying by broadcaster NDTV.

In the past days, bodies have been recovered downstream from the flood-hit region, and teams were scouring the temple town of Kedarnath for bodies trapped in the rubble.

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