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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid