Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, 19 October, took to Twitter to mourn the loss of lives in Uttarakhand due to incessant rains in the state.
"I am anguished by the loss of lives due to heavy rainfall in parts of Uttarakhand," he tweeted, adding that he is praying for everyone's safety and well-being.
I am 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.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 19, 2021
A little prior to that Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami had, according to ANI, said that so far 34 people had died in the state due to the rains.
""So far 34 deaths, five missing in Uttarakhand Rains. Rs 4 lakh compensation to the families of the deceased, those who lost their houses will be given Rs 1.9 lakhs. Possible help to be extended to those who lost their livestock."" - Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami
Earlier, DGP Ashok Kumar was reported as saying that around 24 to 25 people had died, with the maximum number of casualties from the Nainital district.
Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami conducted an aerial survey of areas impacted by the heavy rains on Tuesday.
Moreover, the popular tourist spot of Nainital was cut off as three roads leading to the destination were blocked due to landslides, news agency PTI reported.
#Uttarakhand Nainital lake's water is on level with the lower Mall Road near the Tallital area. Non-stop rainfall since yesterday has disrupted lives across the state with several landslides & deaths reported. Hope this ends soon, it's quite scary! pic.twitter.com/QJa24kSjaq
— Noman Siddiqui (@nomansiddiqui) October 18, 2021
Heavy rainfall in Uttarakhand over the past three days has led to flooded roads, destroyed buildings and bridges, and left locals and tourists stranded.
A portion of the railway line connecting Kathgodam and Delhi near Gaula river in Uttarakhand's Haldwani was also damaged on Tuesday amid heavy rainfall in the region, ANI reported.
Nainital's Mall Road Flooded, Routes Cut Off
While a hostel building has been damaged due to landslides, the Mall Road in Nainital and Naina Devi temple located along the banks of Naini lake have been flooded.
The three roads leading to Nainital were blocked after a series of landslides. The development comes as Nainital, along with several other districts of Uttarakhand, has been receiving incessant rainfall for over 24 hours. Earlier, visuals of Nainital's Mall Road getting flooded due to the overflowing lake went viral on social media.
At least seven people were killed in separate rain-related incidents in Nainital district on Monday night.
— wakeupchandigarh (@wakeupchandiga1) October 18, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday spoke to the Uttarakhand CM and state minister Ajay Bhatt, and took stock of the situation. Union Home Minister Amit Shah had also spoken to CM Dhami and assured all possible help from the Centre.
During the aeiral survey, Dhami said, "I am visiting the rain-affected areas. Government putting in all efforts to rescue locals, tourists. PM also extended help, got 3 Air Force helicopters. Weather department has predicted that situation will be better by evening", ANI quoted him as saying.
Two of the helicopters will be sent to Nainital and one to the Garhwal region to rescue people stranded at different points, Dhami said.
Later, Indian Air Force inducted three Dhruv helicopters at Pantnagar for flood relief efforts and rescued 25 people marooned at three locations near Sunder Khal village, ANI reported.
Meanwhile, Disaster Management Minister Rajendra Trivedi informed ANI that around 80 to 100 people had gone to Uttarakhand for the Char Dham Yatra.
He added, six out of them are stranded in Badrinath and Kedarnath. "Due to heavy rainfall helicopters can't reach there, we're waiting for better weather conditions", Trivedi was quoted as saying.
Further, he said, "Some people are trapped in Joshimath due to landslides. Gujarat CM spoke to Uttarakhand CM on the current situation. Both the States are working together to evacuate people as soon as possible", ANI reported.
Badrinath National Highway at Chamoli District Blocked
The Badrinath National Highway at Chamoli district has been completely blocked due to debris at seven places. A power cut was also reported since Monday night in several areas in Chamoli. Chamoli received 19.8 mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours and the water level in the Nandakini river has risen significantly, raising an alarm.
Meanwhile, around 200 people who were stuck at Lemon Tree resort located at Ramnagar-Ranikhet route were evacuated, DGP Ashok Kumar told news agency ANI.
Water from the Kosi River had entered the resort after the river overflowed, blocking the route to the property.
All gates of the Nanak Sagar dam in Uttarakhand's Udham Singh Nagar were opened after the water levels rose.
Heavy Rains Predicted by IMD
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted heavy rains in the state between 17-19 October. At least 123 districts of Uttarakhand are predicted to receive hailstorms and strong winds of up to 60-70 kmph. the IMD has predicted that the rainfall will reduce in the coming days.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has deployed 10 teams across seven districts – one each in Dehradun, Almora, Pithoragarh, and Haridwar, and two each in Chamoli, Uttarkashi and Gadapur, IANS reported. The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) is continuously monitoring the situation in Uttarakhand with teams conducting overnight rescue operations.
Meanwhile, State Disaster Management Secretary SA Murugesan said more than 200mm of rainfall has been recorded in the last 24 hours.
While the Chardham Devasthanam Board has been asked to temporarily suspend the 'Char Dham Yatra', thousands of pilgrims headed for Kedarnath, have been asked to stay at safe places till the weather improves. According to the district administration, 2,500 devotees are still at the Badrinath temple waiting for the highway to reopen.
All schools across the state remained closed, while a ban was imposed on trekking, mountaineering, and camping activities in the state, as a precautionary measure.
(With inputs from IANS.)
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