Zee Media Bureau
Dehradun: As massive rescue operations are underway in Uttarakhand, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde will visit the flood-hit state on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters today, Shinde confirmed that 207 people have died and the toll could rise further.
"We have evacuated more than 34,000 people, some 49,000-50,000 people are still stranded there," Shinde told reporters here after a meeting with members of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
The Home Minister also assured that all efforts are being made to rescue stranded people in Uttarakhand.
A total of 33,192 people, stranded due to floods in Uttarakhand, were rescued in the ongoing mammoth multi-agency rescue and relief operation even as thousands are still trapped or missing in the hills.
Almost everyone from the worst hit Kedarnath town has been rescued. Today, the focus of the rescue efforts will be on Gaurikund and Rambara - more than 5,000 people are believed to be trapped in this narrow valley. The NDRF team reached Rambada today morning.
According to the Home Ministry statement, a total of 50,422 pilgrims were still stranded at various places. Also, over 13,000 people are said to be missing.
The search, rescue and relief operations are being carried out with the help of helicopters and personnel from Army, Air Force, NDRF, the Sashastra Sena Bal and Uttarakhand government.
The Defence Ministry said that the Army had deployed 8,100 soldiers, including medical teams, engineer task forces and signal detachment. Ten specialised mountaineering teams of the Army were also pressed into service in the Kedarnath-Soumang area.
The official death toll still stood at 207 but Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said the casualties could run into several hundreds which will be known only when areas become accessible and water recedes.
ITBP chief Ajay Chadha, whose 1,000 men are involved in relief work in Uttarakhand, told reporters in Delhi that the worst affected Kedarnath temple area has been evacuated of people and there could still be about 400-500 people in the upper reaches. He said Army will launch operations today to bring these people down.
(With Agency inputs)