Millennium Post

Rescue ops resume, toll climbs to 822

Helicopter rescue operations to evacuate around 9,000 stranded people picked up pace after rain and fog in the morning delayed the mission in calamity-hit Uttarakhand where the death toll mounted to 822 with 127 more bodies recovered from Kedarnath.

Fresh incidents of landslips were also reported from Tehri district in which a woman and a child were killed.

Foggy and overcast conditions in Dehradun had delayed take off by choppers at Sahasradhara helipad and Jolly Grant Airport but air rescue operations resumed with improvement in the weather.

Four choppers made sorties to Badrinath on Tuesday and evacuated 60 people, officials said.

Official sources that 127 more bodies were recovered since Monday from Kedarnath area. At least 15 bodies of flash flood victims were found floating in Ganga in different districts of Uttar Pradesh including Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahr and Bijnore, taking the toll in the tragedy to 822.

In Patna, Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said that he had asked the Uttarakhand government not to allow any VIP to land in the flood-ravaged areas to avoid any disturbance to relief work.

He said that situation was improving in Uttarakhand and relief work was going on at a faster pace. Many devotees have been evacuated from Kedarnath and Badrinath, he said, adding 37 helicopters were ferrying stranded pilgrims to safety.

Amid fear of an epidemic, massive efforts were on to conduct the last rites of those killed in Kedarnath.
Truck loads of dry Deodar wood and ghee have been despatched to Kedarnath and the efforts are on to conduct mass ritual cremation of bodies strewn over the premises after their identification, post mortem and DNA preservation formalities, sources at the state police headquarters here said.

With the bodies already beginning to putrefy, the air is laden with a stench giving rise to fears of an epidemic outbreak in affected areas.


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