New Delhi: Thousands of children and women are stuck in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand and need immediate medical attention and food before the weather deteriorates, aid agency Save the Children said on Monday.
"Thousands of children and families have been left stranded in mountains by heavy monsoon rains that swept through the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand," it said in a release here.
Relief efforts are entering a critical period as heavy rains are forecast to hit the area, the aid agency warned.
"Thousands of children, pregnant women and old people are in desperate need of food and medical attention. Dozens of villages have been cut off by the flood waters, and homes, livestock and possessions have been swept away. They are running out of food, and we know children are already dying because they can`t reach medical help," Save the Children`s India director of programmes Latha Caleb said.
She said emergency teams of the organisation are already on the ground, and have reached some of the most inaccessible areas.
In Karadhi village, they found 500 families sheltering in an dilapidated school building after their homes were swept away by the floods, including a family whose one-year-old girl had died of pneumonia because they could not get medical help.
With fresh downpours expected, there is an urgent need for food, clean drinking water, blankets, medicines and warm clothes and proper shelter, she added.
The government says 557 bodies have been found and some 20,000 people were still awaiting evacuation. Some officials and rescuers have said the fatalities may run into hundreds, if not thousands.