Zee Media Bureau
Dehradun: The famous Kedarnath shrine and the surrounding valley were severely damaged and submerged in mud and slush after unprecedented flash floods hit the area and other parts of Uttarakhand.
The ‘Jyotirlinga’ in Rudraprayag district is among the most revered Hindu pilgrimage sites and is visited by lakhs of people every year during the Char Dham Yatra – which has been suspended after the rain fury that has damaged roads and building and left over 100 dead in the state.
As per reports, 50 bodies are lying in areas adjacent to the shrine even as it is feared that many more bodies are below the debris. Aerial pictures of the area show massive devastation with several hotels and shops damaged in the floods.
About 500 people, including several pilgrims, are said to be missing in the area. However, some other reports claimed that over 6000 people are stranded in the Kedarnath valley.
Search and rescue operations started late due to adverse climatic conditions. Multiple teams of national disaster management force, Army and para-military forces are working on a war footing to provide aid and help.
Death toll over 130
The unprecedented flash floods has claimed over 130 lives in Uttarkhand and Himachal Pradesh and left over 70,000 pilgrims for Himalayan shrines stranded.
Uttarakhand Helpline numbers are: 0135-2710334, 2710335, 2710233
Helpline number for Joshimath, Karnaprayag and Govindghat: 01372-253785
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi have expressed concern and directed all central government agencies to assist in rescue and relief operations in flood-affected Uttarakhand.
Dr Singh yesterday directed all central government agencies to assist in rescue and relief operations in flood-affected Uttarakhand and assured Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna of all help, a statement said.
"The Prime Minister has shared the anguish and distress of the flood-affected people of Uttarakhand who see their homes facing the ravages of floods. He has directed all agencies of the union government to assist in rescue and relief operations in the flood affected areas of the state," said the statement.
The PM is expected to take an aerial view of the flood affected Uttarakahnd state later today.
The death toll in Uttarakhand has reached 102. Rudraprayag district was the worst hit with 20 people dead and 73 buildings, including 40 hotels, along the banks of the Alaknanda swept away in the swirling waters of the river.
A total of 71,440 pilgrims bound for the Himalayan shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are stranded in Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi districts of Uttarakhand with the famous char dham yatra having been suspended due to massive landslides and damage to the road network.
While 27,040 tourists are stranded in Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi have 25,000 and 9,850 pilgrims from various parts of the country stranded, Disaster Management authorities said.
More than a dozen helicopters were deployed in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh -- the two states worst hit in the flash floods -- for relief and rescue operations and all stranded people are expected to be evacuated soon.
Army personnel carried out relief operations in flood-hit Chamoli district.
The Ganga river in Haridwar was in full spate and many highways linking Delhi and Haridwar, Rishikesh and Yamunotri and Gangotri and the Badrinath National Highway are flooded.
Heavy rainfall has alarmingly increased the water level in Himachal Pradesh`s Pong and Bhakra dams, officials said Tuesday.
Alert in UP
A high alert has been issued in Uttar Pradesh as water level in most of the rivers have touched the danger mark, while three persons lost their lives in Maharajganj district due to heavy rain which lashed most part of the state during the last 24 hours.
A report from Bahraich said that with the release of four lakh cusex water from Nepal at the Banbasa barrage, threat of floods loomed large in the district.
Sharda river was flowing above the red mark at Palia Kalan and directives have been issued to shift people in 44 villages of Mahsi area of Bahraich.
Haryana: Rail, road traffic hit
Arriving almost a fortnight in advance, the south-west monsoon brought heavy rains in several parts of Haryana, affecting rail and road traffic in the state, while water level in Yamuna river was at all time high.
In Haryana, especially Yamunanagar and Karnal districts, there was a decrease in rainfall activity. On Monday, several villages in Yamunanagar district were under flood waters.
The rains have led to an alarming increase in the water level of Yamuna, with an all-time record over 8.06 lakh cusecs water flowing through the Hathni Kund barrage yesterday.
The National Highway No 73 (Amritsar-Ambala-Saharanpur) and Old Saharanpur road have also been closed due to flood.
Meanwhile, the spectre of floods looms large over Delhi as the Yamuna river is likely to cross 207 metres. Officials have undertaken relief measures and evacuated people living in low lying areas. The Old Delhi bridge has been closed for both rail and road traffic.