Uttarakhand Cloudburst: Death Toll Rises to 18

Chief Minister Harish Rawat announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the families of the victims.

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Houses washed away in flash flood in Chamoli, Uttarakhand. (Photo: ANI)

Three more bodies were recovered from the debris in the cloudburst-hit villages in Pithoragarh, raising the death toll in rain-related incidents in the state to 18.

Search operations by the Army, para-military and police personnel for 25 people who remain missing are still underway.

The number of recovered bodies swept away by flash floods in Chamoli remains at 3 and the total fatalities from both Pithoragarh and Chamoli districts is currently 18.

So far, more than 60 houses have been flattened and as many as 200 cattle have reportedly died in the villages, IANS reports.

While all means of communication in the area have collapsed, a senior official of the disaster management team said the rescue operations were hampered due to inclement weather.

Underlining the vulnerability of the situation, Chief Minister Harish Rawat said that the death toll is likely to increase.

Singhali, Patthakot, Ogla and Thal villages were the worst affected as a cloudburst brought over 100 mm rain in two hours over a 50 sq km region.

River Alaknanda has risen above the danger level mark after a cloudburst in Chamoli district. (Photo: ANI)
River Alaknanda has risen above the danger level mark after a cloudburst in Chamoli district. (Photo: ANI)
NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) teams have rushed to the areas affected by cloudburst in Uttarakhand. Additional teams of NDRF are also put on alert.
Rajnath Singh, Home Minister

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to convey his condolences to those who lost their lives in the cloudburst.

Singhali, Patthakot, Ogla and Thal villages are the worst affected. (Photo: ANI)
Singhali, Patthakot, Ogla and Thal villages are the worst affected. (Photo: ANI)

HC Semwal, Pithoragarh District Magistrate, said that five bodies were recovered from Singhali area while three bodies were recovered from Thal village. The search for others is on by army and paramilitary personnel, he added.

Rishikesh-Badrinath National Highway (NH-58) blocked due to heavy rains and landslide near Devprayag.  (Photo: ANI)
Rishikesh-Badrinath National Highway (NH-58) blocked due to heavy rains and landslide near Devprayag. (Photo: ANI)
The rescuers are trying their best to locate and save them. Twenty-five persons, missing from over seven villages of Singhali area in Didiihat sub division of the district, are being traced with the help of ITBP, SSB and Pithoragarh district police. 
RS Rana, District Disaster Management Officer

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Harish Rawat announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the families of the victims.

We are sad to know about the deaths. I am personally monitoring the situation from here. Chief Secretary too is keeping a tab ... we will give them [kin of victims] immediate compensation of Rs two lakh as per norms. 
Harish Rawat, Chief Minister, Uttarakhand

Warning against encroachment of river beds, Union Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said on Friday:

We need to preserve rivers and we shouldn’t encroach river beds. That is the minimum, otherwise we get more losses. We have to preserve the Himalayas. It is a baby mountain. We have to take care. And therefore, the Modi government has for the first time allotted Rs 100 crore to carry out studies on various aspects of the Himalayan ecology. We have already started working on 27 projects on all such disaster resilience and predictions.

(With agency inputs)

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