Dehradun: At least 102 people were killed in the flash floods triggered by incessant rains in Uttarakhand, while the toll in the calamity is likely to rise manifold as 500 people are still reported to be missing.
Kukhimath SDM Rakesh Tewari told reporters after his return from Himalayan shrine of Kedarnarth that 50 bodies are lying in areas adjacent to the shine.
"We are right now concentrating on rescuing those who are alive," the officer said.
Some of the pilgrims who returned from the shrine after being stranded there for two days said that Kedarnathpuri has been totally damaged by the flood.
Barring the Kedarnath shrine and some of the structures adjoining it, most of the residential rings of the temple are damaged.
Bodies of pilgrims are lying in debris of damaged houses, the pilgrims said.
Earlier, 52 persons had died across the state in cloudbursts and landslides.
"More persons are feared dead at Tejam in Pithoragarh district," Chief Secretary Subahash Kumar told reporters here this evening.
About 500 pilgrims stranded at Kedarnath were ferried to safety at Guptkashi today as rescue operations picked up momentum two days after incessant rains wreaked havoc in the hill state, he said.
However, he expressed inability to give a precise figure of casualties in Pithoragarh saying choppers cannot be landed at many places due to heavy flooding.
He said the possibility of casualties "rising manifold" cannot be ruled out as many places with crowded settlements in the worst hit Rudraprayag district are heavily inundated, so much that they cannot even be seen from the choppers that were flown over them to take stock of the situation.
Massive casualties are feared at the thickly populated Rambara in the district where nothing is visible from above, Garhwal Commissioner Subardhan who was also present at the joint press conference said.