After 6 Days of Flash Floods, Uttarkashi Tries to Recover Amid Fears of Landslides and Roadblocks
Several roads in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi district have been either blocked or damaged beyond repair. Few bridges no longer exists. Till date 18 deaths have been reported and at least 6 people are still missing.
Houses are seen destroyed in the wake of the cloud burst in the district of Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand.
Dehradun: Ganeshi, a young mother from Gokul village in Uttarkashi’s Arakot area, weeps as she recalls Sunday's horror when flash floods and landslides devastated her life within minutes. Village after village, it's the same story. The heavy rains resulting in flash floods and landslides had swept away several homes and damaged infrastructure worth crores in Uttarkashi district.
Several roads have been either blocked or damaged beyond repair. Few bridges no longer exists. Till date 18 deaths have been reported and at least 6 people are still missing. With sunshine, the fragile areas are once again witnessing fresh landslides thus making conditions difficult for the locals.
“It’s one of the worst natural disasters; we are trying our best to establish normalcy. Rescue teams are working 24X7 and our priority is to open remaining roads,” said Ashish Chauhan, Uttarakhashi district magistrate, who has been manning rescue works.
Uttarkashi is a district bordering Himanchal Pradesh. It rained heavily in the neighouring state on Sunday and the effect was equally visible in Uttarkashi as well. The gushing waters of the swelled rivers swept everything that came on its way. The riverside houses flushed away in the fraction of minutes.
According to chief minister Trivendra Rawat, 51 villages in 70 square kilometre area have been badly affected. The CM said flash floods have done loss to the tune of Rs 175 crores.
Earlier this week, a private helicopter carrying relief material was crashed while maneuvering a narrow inhospitable valley and since then only a government chopper is seen transporting relief material, mainly food packets, water and medicines.
Six days after the disaster, the life has come to a standstill in Moldi and Tikochi — two among several affected villages. Tons of debris, mud-sling and boulders are spilled everywhere in Tikochi village.
The upside down vehicles, dilapidated homes, no access to drinking water and road – this seem to have become a major concern for hundreds of villagers living in remote areas. Relief teams have been pressed into the service but they are also helpless beyond a point. In absence of link roads, villagers are forced to take forest routes to establish contact with relatives. The communication network at several points has been damaged.
Uttarkashi also happens to be major apple growing belt in Uttarakhand. Apparently, it is not the local market but the Himanchal market where the produce goes. The apple crop perishing in the villages as farmers have no option to transport. Some 500 odd farmers are directly affected from the aftermath of disaster.
Bharat, an apple grower from Monda, a last village on Uttarkhand side, says apple is the economic lifeline of this belt.
“I don’t know how we will survive. Farmers put every penny on apple farming and now at the time of harvest we have been left nowhere,” he says. Agrees Narendra Rawat, another apple farmers who demands compensation from the government.
(With inputs from Deepankar Bhatt in Uttarkashi)
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