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Rain Fury in Uttarakhand: 34 Dead, 5 Missing; PM Condoles Deaths; Rescue Ops on

Submerged cars are seen at a flooded hotel resort as extreme rainfall caused the Kosi River overflow at the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand. (AP Photo/ Mustafa Quraishi)

Submerged cars are seen at a flooded hotel resort as extreme rainfall caused the Kosi River overflow at the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand. (AP Photo/ Mustafa Quraishi)

Nainital has been cut off from rest of the state; people have been camping on rooftops and waiting to be rescued.

Rain has wreaked havoc in Uttarakhand where 34 people have been killed so far since yesterday, said Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, adding that five people still remain missing. The CM has announced Rs 4 lakh compensation for the families of the deceased, and Rs 1.9 lakh to those who lost their houses.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was anguished by the loss of lives due to heavy rainfall in parts of Uttarakhand. “May the injured recover soon. Rescue operations are underway to help those affected. I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being," he tweeted.

President of the Bharatiya Janata Party JP Nadda also expressed sadness over the loss of lives. “Saddened by the loss of lives due to heavy rainfall in parts of Kerala. Central Govt is closely monitoring the situation & providing all possible help. My condolences and thoughts are with the affected families in this hour of grief & I pray for the safety and well-being of all," he said in tweet.

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The inclement weather has left a trail of devastation — from places such as Ramgarh’s Talla remaining under water to people missing in Nainital, which has been cut off from the rest of the state as three key roads leading to the popular tourist hub remain blocked due to a series of landslides.

Some reports said that the Badrinath highway had been blocked in Chamoli district on Monday due to falling debris following heavy rainfall.

The authorities advised Chardham pilgrims not to proceed to the Himalayan temples till the weather improves. In Lansdowne, the labourers were staying in a tent at Samkhal in Pauri district when rubble flowing down from a field above due to the rains buried them alive, District Magistrate Vijay Kumar Jogdande said.

They had been engaged in a hotel construction work in the area. The injured were admitted to the Kotdwar base hospital, he said. Meanwhile, Chardham pilgrims who arrived in Haridwar and Rishikesh by Sunday have been asked not to proceed further till the weather improves, while operation of vehicles for the Himalayan temples has been suspended temporarily.

Passenger vehicles are not being allowed to cross the Chandrabhaga bridge, Tapovan, Lakshman Jhoola and Muni-ki-Reti Bhadrakali barriers in Rishikesh. Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited the state disaster control room at the secretariat here to take weather updates and know the conditions of roads and highways.

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He appealed to the pilgrims to defer their journey for two days until the weather normalises. They are staying in safe locations spread across Haridwar, Rishikesh, Shrinagar, Tehri, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Guptkashi, Ukhimath, Karnaprayag, Joshimath and Pandukeshwar. Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Dhami on the phone to get an update on precautionary steps being taken by the state government in view of the heavy rain alert and assured him of all possible help.

Here are All Latest Updates:

• The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has rescued over 300 people from flood-affected areas of Uttarakhand, the federal force said on Tuesday. The NDRF has deployed 15 teams in the state. The Kumaon region of the hill state has been severely hit by heavy rains, leading to razing of houses and leaving many trapped in the debris. “Rescue operation is in progress and so far, teams have evacuated more than 300 stranded persons from Udham Singh Nagar district and other flood-affected areas," an NDRF spokesperson said. He said while six teams are deployed in Udham Singh Nagar, two teams each are stationed in Uttarkashi, Chamoli and one team each in Dehradun, Pithoragarh and Haridwar.

• It has been raining in Kedarnath since Sunday night but the Mandakini river is flowing at its normal level. A Devasthanam Board official said regular prayers at the four Himalayan temples are continuing and pilgrims staying there are safe. Pilgrims headed for Yamunotri have been asked to stay in Badkot and Jankichatti, whereas those en route to Gangotri have been asked to stay in Harsil, Bhatwari and Maneri, Uttarkashi District Magistrate Mayur Dikshit told PTI.

• Gujarat Disaster Management Minister Rajendra Trivedi said today that around 80-100 people went to Uttarakhand from Gujarat for the Chardham Yatra. Out of them, six people are stranded in Badrinath and Kedarnath, he said, adding that due to heavy rainfall helicopters can’t reach the spots, so authorities are waiting for better weather conditions. He said that some people are trapped in Joshimath due to landslides, and that Gujarat CM Bhupendrabhai Patel spoke to Uttarakhand CM on the current situation. Both States are working together to evacuate people as soon as possible, Trivedi added.

• Kedarnath and Badrinath-bound pilgrims have also been requested not to proceed on their journey till the weather clears. Most of the pilgrims on way to Badrinath are staying in Joshimath and Chamoli, Chamoli district disaster management officer N K Joshi said. Around 4,000 yatris out of a total of 6,000 in Kedarnath on Sunday have returned while the rest are lodged in safe locations.

• Many of them have been stopped in Linchauli and Bhimbali as a precautionary measure, Rudraprayag disaster management officer N S Singh said. The Chardham Devasthanam Board said the yatra has been temporarily halted for the sake of safety of pilgrims in view of the heavy rain alert issued by the Uttarakhand meteorological department for October 17-19.

• The peaks beyond Badrinath and Kedarnath received light snowfall, whereas the lower areas in Chamoli district were lashed by continuous showers. Rain continued in Uttarkashi and Dehradun as well. The Gangotri and the Yamunotri dham in Uttarkashi district also received heavy snowfall on Monday.

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first published:October 19, 2021, 09:39 IST