11 facts about the Uttarakhand calamity
After evacuating several people from the other parts of the State, the rescuers are now focussing on Badrinath and Harsil, which is 400 km away from Badrinath. At least 1200 people in Harsil are waiting to be air-lifted.
The first batch of yatris who were stuck near Badrinath arrived in Gauchar via Joshimath by foot, on Tuesday morning. Joshimath is some 44 km away from Badrinath and 90 km from Gauchar. The pilgrims were escorted through a ropeway and makeshift bridge by jawans.
The national highway that connects Badrinath to Delhi and Rishikesh is blocked in several parts because of fresh landslides. Therefore, thousands of pilgrims are still waiting to move out of the region.
More than 127 more bodies were recovered from Kedarnath on Tuesday, which is the epicentre of the disaster. According to an official, search and rescue operation near the famous temple has concluded. He also said that no survivors remain in the jungles around Kedarnath. They have all been rescued.
A week after disaster struck, rescuers have located 50 people in Jungle Chhatti, one of the toughest terrains near Yamnotri in Uttarakhand. Indian Air Force’s specially-trained commandos, Garuds, have been deployed in the region to speed up rescue work.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi spent the night at a base camp in Gauchar on June 24 and did an aerial survey of Kedarnath on Tuesday morning. He arrived in Uttarakhand on Monday as Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde warned that visits by VVIPs affect rescue operations, and that political leaders will not be given landing rights at the sites.
Preparations are being made for a mass cremation near the Kedarnath temple to ensure that rotting bodies do not lead to an outbreak of diseases. But their last rites are unlikely to take place on Tuesday as huge quantities of wood and ‘ghee’, needed for the cremation, have not been airlifted and carried to Kedarnath.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has said that he expects the death toll to reach 1,000 after rescuers access the remotest areas which have been cut off by floods.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed both the Central Government as well as the State Government to step up the relief and rescue operations. The Apex Court is hearing a PIL on the national disaster.
On Monday, around 800 people were evacuated on foot using makeshift bridges across swollen rivers, an Army spokesperson said. Around 1000 people were also air-lifted from parts where the rain was not heavy enough to ground military helicopters.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs are being used to scan thick forest areas to help locate any people who are stranded.