An army rescue team has reportedly established contact with around 1000 people stranded near the pilgrimage site of Gaurikund.
According to a CNN-IBN report, people have been located between Gaurikund and Ram Bada and ropeways are being used to help evacuate the able bodied among them. However, given that there are no roads and the terrain is a difficult to negotiate the evacuation will be a slow process.
As there is no helipad near the location the people will be forced to trek down to a lower location from where they can be evacuated, an army spokesperson told the channel. Over 73,000 people have so far been evacuated from the flood and landslide-hit areas of Uttarakhand so far. Another 32000 to 33000 people are still to be evacuated, even as rescuers intensified their efforts to help those in distress in different inaccessible parts of the hill state.
In Joshimath sector, the army has constructed a temporary bridge across Alaknanda River near Govindghat to facilitate Hemkunt Sahib pilgrims to cross over. A road link has been opened from Sonprayag to Gaurikund. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has deployed 13 more aircraft for relief and rescue operations. 55 helicopters have been pressed into service for rescue work
The IAF has also deployed its heavy lift MI-26 helicopters for transporting fuel and heavy equipment required by the Boarder Road Organization (BRO) to clear roads closed due to landslide. Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar has said that party president Rajnath Singh has formed a disaster relief force for Uttarakhand, consisting of party workers, volunteers and people from all classes of the society.
“We are making special arrangements for those eager to work. It shall be a continuous process,” Javadekar said. He also praised the efforts of the armed forces and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, saying they were doing a laudable job.
Personnel of ITBP have been extensively active in the rescue and salvage operations conducted jointly with the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Army units from the Central Command ever since the news was flashed about the flash floods at several places in the Uttarakhand. Rescue teams and police personnel have recovered 48 dead bodies from the River Ganga in Haridwar.
“We are keeping them in the morgue and documenting their details. We are also clicking their photographs, and flashing the details for identification,” said Haridwar Senior Superintendent of Police Rajiv Swaroop.
Central Army Commander Lt. Gen. Anil Chait said on Friday that about 8,000 to 9000 people are still stranded in Badrinath. “If we move down hill from Badrinath, towards Joshimath, there is a place that falls on route called Gobindghat. There are three isolated segments (spots), which are completely cut-off, in between Gobindghat and Badrinath. Some people are still stranded in these places,” Lt. Gen. Chait said.