Sunday, January 23, 2022

Uttarakhand struggles with rain aftermath: 46 people dead, 11 still missing

By PTI Updated: Oct 20, 2021 7:10 pm
Indian Army jawan rescues a child and villagers stranded in flood-water in Tanakpur, Uttarakhand.

Dehradun/New Delhi, Oct. 20 (PTI): Eleven people remained missing, boulders blocked roads and many villages went without electricity as authorities took stock Wednesday of the aftermath of the rains that battered Uttarakhand for over two days.

Forty-six people have died due to the rains since Sunday night and some are still feared buried under the debris of collapsed houses.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said it has rescued over 1,300 people from flood-affected areas of Uttarakhand. The federal force has deployed 17 rescue teams in the state.

“So far, NDRF rescuers have evacuated more than 1,300 stranded people from Udham Singh Nagar and Nanital. They are also distributing relief material in flood-affected areas of Uttarakhand,” a spokesperson said.

Six NDRF teams are deployed in Udham Singh Nagar, two teams each are stationed in Uttarkashi, Chamoli and one each in Dehradun, Champawat Pithoragarh and Haridwar.

“Two teams and a sub-team have been deployed in Nainital while one sub-team is placed at Almora,” the spokesperson said.

The weather cleared up Wednesday morning but authorities faced the challenge of rescuing people trapped under debris and restoring road and power links to places cut off by the rains.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami toured rain-hit areas in Kumaon region, instructing officials to prepare an estimate of the damage.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah was also expected to conduct an aerial survey and visit the state capital Dehradun later in the day.

Tourist town Nainital was returning back to normalcy.

A furious Gaula river has damaged the tracks at Kathgodam railway station in Nainital, which experienced a record 445 mm rainfall on Tuesday. The district accounts for 29 of the 46 deaths so far.

The damaged tracks in Kathgodam may take four or five days to be repaired, DGP Ashok Kumar told PTI.

In Nainital, tourists woke up to a bright morning without a trace of rain on Wednesday and were out on the streets for shopping and sightseeing. Taxis had begun running through the town.

“It was suffocating to be locked up inside our hotel rooms due to the incessant rains on Tuesday, a young tourist from Uttar Pradesh said.

He added that the scenic beauty of the place had made up for what they had suffered over the last two days.

By Wednesday morning, most of the water had receded from the roads in Nainital, where movement had become nearly impossible after Naini lake overflowed.

Electricity supply and telephone connectivity, badly hit by the rains, have been restored in the town. But villages on the outskirts remain affected, officials said.

The rescue and restoration work was likely to pick up with the improvement in the weather, Nainital District Magistrate Dhiraj Garbiyal said.

The Haldwani and Kaladhungi roads have been opened partially to traffic restoring connectivity to Nainital, which remained cut off on Monday and for the most part of Tuesday.

The Haldwani-Nainital national highway is open for light vehicles only because of landslide-prone zones at some spots. The Haldwani-Bhimtal road is now open for light and heavy vehicles.

The Bhowali-Ramgarh-Dhanachuli road is open for traffic till Ramgarh.

The Nainital-Kaladungi road is open for light vehicles. The Nainital-Bhowali road is still closed due to the landslide-prone zones detected in Jhakoli-Pines-Kailakhan section, officials said.

By PTI Updated: Oct 20, 2021 7:10:52 pm