News / Asia

India: Tens of Thousands Stranded by Flooding, Landslides

A man drags a trunk to higher ground after floodwaters inundated homes along the banks of the Yamuna River, in New Delhi, India, June 19, 2013.
A man drags a trunk to higher ground after floodwaters inundated homes along the banks of the Yamuna River, in New Delhi, India, June 19, 2013.
Anjana Pasricha
Rescue workers in India’s northern Uttarakhand state are trying to reach tens of thousands of people stranded due to landslides and flash floods triggered by heavy rains. At least 150 people have been killed in the Himalayan region, but with access to many areas cut off, there are fears the death toll could be higher.

After bridges were washed away and roads blocked by landslides and flash floods in Uttarakhand, air force helicopters flew to settlements tucked in the high mountains to evacuate people. But the operations were intermittently hampered by bad weather on Thursday.

The scale of the devastation in the Uttarakhand has unfolded slowly after unprecedented heavy rains battered the state, cutting off communication links with many areas. The state’s chief minister Vijay Bahuguna has called it a “Himalayan tsunami” and fears casualties could be very heavy.

  • An Indian paramilitary soldier looks at the gate of an airport, covered with special announcements and pictures of missing people, in Jollygrant, India, June 26, 2013.
  • Locals unload wood from a truck to be loaded on to Indian Air force helicopters, in Gauchar, Uttarakhand, India, June 25, 2013.
  • Civilians get ready to load relief material for flood affected victims on a helicopter in Joshimath, Uttarakhand, India, June 24, 2013.
  • Commuters travel on a flooded road after a rise in the water levels of the Yamuna River in New Delhi, India, June 20, 2013.
  • People use a boat to cross a market along the banks of the Yamuna River, in New Delhi, India, June 19, 2013.
  • Rescuers help escort stranded pilgrims to helicopters to evacuate at Joshimath in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, India, June 19, 2013.
  • A submerged idol of Hindu Lord Shiva stands in the flooded River Ganges in Rishikesh, in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, June 18, 2013.
  • A view of the Hindu holy town of Kedarnath from a helicopter after a flood, in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, June 18, 2013.
  • People gather to watch a bridge submerged in the flooded water of the River Ganges in Rudraprayag, in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, June 18, 2013.
  • An Indian soldier carries a stranded woman pilgrim to a safer area in Chamoli district, in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, June 18, 2013.
  • Indian people walk on a road which caved in after incessant rains on Rishikesh-Mana highway near Joshimath district in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, June 17, 2013.
  • Indian army personnel distribute free food to stranded pilgrims after they were rescued from one of the worst flood affected regions in Govind Ghat, in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, June 18, 2013.

Among those stranded are tens of thousands of devotees who were visiting popular Hindu pilgrim spots in the state. Thousands of soldiers have been deployed for the rescue operation.  

The director general of Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Ajay Chadha, says roads in some areas, such as the popular Kedarnath temple town, have been completely damaged. He says this is posing a challenge to rescue efforts because they can only be accessed by air.  

Chadha says evacuating the stranded people is time consuming because only five people can be brought down by each helicopter sortie. He says that besides air force helicopters, 10 private helicopters are also being used. Chadha says the first priority is to rescue women, children, old people and those who are sick.   

Officials say they have identified the worst affected areas and are trying to step up rescue and relief efforts in these regions. Relief camps have been established for people whose homes have been washed away by the rains. Efforts are underway to reach food rations to places to which access is completely cut off.     

Harak Singh Rawat, the state’s agriculture minister, says they have distributed 10,000 food packets in some villages and remote areas.  

While Uttarakhand has been hardest hit by the heavy rains in Northern India, the neighboring Himachal Pradesh state, also situated in the Himalaya mountains, has also suffered damage.

Several prominent environmentalists have blamed unregulated development in the mountain regions for the destruction unleashed by the rains and say more care needs to be taken to preserve the fragile ecosystem of the Himalayas.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More