Overnight rains damage National Highway in U`khand

Last Updated: Saturday, June 29, 2013 - 20:50

Phata: The 14 km stretch of National Highway 109 from Guptkashi to Phata was on Saturday badly damaged at two places due to landslips caused by heavy rain overnight.

The road, which goes up to Gauri Kund, is now available only till Son Prayag, the route onwards has been destroyed in the flash floods of June 16.

Substantial damage to the road is a common occurrence during monsoons in the hills of Rudraprayag district, but this time the troubles for locals here started before the beginning of the wet season.
The cloudburst of June 15-16, as they point out, was a pre-monsoon phenomenon and it brought along disaster of such magnitude as has been never witnessed before.

The importance of functional roads has now become of paramount importance to the efforts by civil society and government to reach out to stricken villages.

"Just make sure these roads are working. In past years, we would be fully prepared to deal with blocked roads. We used to stock up on adequate rations which ensured that even if the highway was clogged for more than a day or two, there was no problem of food.
"But this year we have nothing. Not only the NH, even village trails are washed away. People have to lug upto 15 kilos in supplies on their backs for 20-25 km to reach their villages," a Phata resident, YP Tiwari said.

At the first roadblock, where massive boulders had fallen on the road, was a team of three doctors from `Doctors for You`, an NGO.

"We were headed to Phata and beyond to assess the needs of the people here. Apart from medical help, villagers also need psychological counselling, such has been the nature of this tragedy," said Dr Anurag Mishra, joint secretary of Doctors For You.

They were preparing to cover the 7 km from that point to Phata by foot.

"The villages above Phata are completely cut off, there is no means to reach them other than by foot. In such circumstances, relief work becomes a major challenge," Mishra added.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, June 29, 2013 - 20:50

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