Dehradun: Flashfloods in river Ganga and its tributaries, triggered by incessant rains on Monday left a trail of death and devastation across Uttarakhand killing 37 people, injuring 34 and damaging over 160 buildings.
Seven people went missing and a chopper and four vehicles were swept away as heavy rains continue to lash the state, Disaster Management authorities said here.
Rudraprayag bore the brunt of the disaster accounting for 20 casualties, they said adding seven were killed in Dehradun, four in Almora and two each in Chamoli, Tehri and Uttarkashi districts.
Four members of a family were killed in their sleep in Kasta village in Dehradun district when the debris falling from a landslip hit their house, police said.
Three of a family were killed in a similar manner in Prem Nagar area in Dehradun, they said.
In Almora, three persons were killed and 15 injured when a bus in which they were travelling was hit by a landslide at Dhaulchina.
A large number of structures including shrines, hotels, rest houses, commercial and residential buildings collapsed like a pack of cards in Rudraparayag district.
Seventy-three houses were totally damaged in Rudraprayag, 60 in Pithoragarh, 19 in Uttarkashi, 10 in Dehradun and one each in Tehri and Bageshwar.
Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, who took information from District Magistrates on the extent of damage caused by the flashfloods through video conferencing, expressed grief at the loss of lives in the calamity describing it as a "huge" one.
Rescue operations were going on on a war-footing with the help of ITBP, BSF and the Army but bad weather was proving a hindrance, he said.
Chardham and Mansarovar pilgrimages, suspended following torrential rains, would be resumed as soon as the weather improves, Bahuguna said.
Thousands of pilgrims were stranded in Rudraprayag and Chamoli districts with 10,000 each at Badrinath and Govind Ghat, 6,000 at Ghanghariya and 1,000 at Joshimath.
Hundreds of stranded pilgrims in Govind Ghat were evacuated this morning by the Army and taken to Joshimath, a press release from the Central Command headquarters said.
Further evacuation attempts were hampered at some places due to landslides.
The first two groups of Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims on way to Tibet were asked to stay put at their respective places at Gunji and Almora till the road network was restored and the weather improved.
The first group comprising 53 pilgrims, including 22 women, had reached Gunji, the high altitude trekking route of the international pilgrimage and was due to enter Tibet.
The decision to suspend movement of both the groups was taken after a 150-mt stretch was washed away near Dharchula, Kumaun Division Commissioner RK Sudhanshu told PTI.
The schools in Nainital had been shut for three days due to heavy rains, he said.
In Uttarkashi, some 19 buildings caved in and were swept away by flood waters which also claimed two lives including that of a woman.
Rishikesh-Gangotri national highway was damaged at Pipal Mandi, Nalupani, Sainj, Bhatwari and Nailode.
Hotels located on the banks of Bhagirathi and adjoining government and residential buildings collapsed due to flash floods.
However, there were no casualties as people staying there were evacuated in time, the officials said.
With parts of Tiloth bridge collapsing, Joshiada area was cut off from the district headquarters, they said.