INDIA NEWS/FLOOD FURY
Thousands stranded, many feared dead as rains and rampaging rivers wreak havoc on North India
Torrential rains hit North India June 15-16. Uttarakhand, where most rivers are in spate, was the worst hit. Houses and buildings collapsed and roads caved in many parts of the state. At
press time the death toll due to floods was 150, but
thousands are trapped in Uttarakhand’s higher reaches and the toll is expected to rise.
The state government canceled the Char Dham
Yatra to holy Hindu sites high in the Himalayas as
well as the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra into Tibet
through Uttarakhand. An estimated 71,000 pilgrims
were reported stranded.
In Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district, another
1,700 tourists are estimated stranded. The meteorological department said rains in June broke an 88-
At press time, about 8,500 army troopers, 30 India
Air Force aircraft, 2,000 Indo-Tibetan Border Police
jawans, and 250 National Disaster Relief Force personnel had been deployed to tackle the flood situation.
Experts said the disaster was waiting to happen
because of frantic mining activities and mushrooming hydropower projects in the mountainous state.
The debris being dumped into rivers has resulted in
the water level rising unnaturally, contributing to
flash floods. The top soil has been eroded, thanks to
COURTES Y: ANI@ANI_NE WS/ T WI TTER
The Kedarnath shrine in Uttarakhand’s Rudraprayag district, one of Hinduism’s holiest sites and one of the
Char Dhams, submerged in mud and slush. Over 50 pilgrims died in the unprecedented flash floods while
thousands were left stranded. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said it would take a year to clean
up the debris and restore the temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The rampaging Ganga submerges a statue of Lord Shiva in Rishikesh.
Pilgrims stranded in Rudraprayag. REUTERS
COURTES Y: INDIAN ARM Y