News / Asia

Bad Weather Hampers India Flood Rescue Effort

Indian army soldier helps an injured Indian pilgrim after she was rescued from the higher reaches of mountains, at a makeshift helipad at Joshimath, in northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, June 24, 2013.
Indian army soldier helps an injured Indian pilgrim after she was rescued from the higher reaches of mountains, at a makeshift helipad at Joshimath, in northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, June 24, 2013.
Anjana Pasricha
In North India, bad weather is hampering efforts to rescue tens of thousands of people stranded in a Himalayan state following flash floods. The death toll in the disaster has climbed to 560, but many people are still missing, raising fears that the toll will mount higher. 

Heavy cloud, mist and intermittent rains hampered the operation to airlift people from the worst-hit areas in Uttarakhand state. Soldiers focused on restoring bridges and repairing access routes as they raced to bring survivors to safety amid forecasts of more downpours in the coming days.

Priests are being asked to begin mass cremation of the victims in the town of Kedarnath - a pilgrim spot that was among the worst hit areas.  

It has been a week since heavy monsoon rains caused widespread devastation in the Himalayan region, washing away roads, bridges and entire villages.
 
About 80,000 people have been rescued so far. Many recounted distressing experiences of doing without food and shelter for days.

But thousands remain stranded, while an unknown number are missing. Relatives are desperately searching for family members.  

V.K. Duggal, a senior official of the National Disaster Management Authority in New Delhi, denied charges of a slow response to the disaster. 

“Really speaking there are no major gaps in coordination. And all agencies are doing their very best to make sure that the relief and rescue operations moves smoothly and at as good a speed as possible," Duggal said. "There may be some impediments of weather, this, that, but when you have a problem of this massive size, at the operational level, there will be some plusses and minuses.”

Many charities have rushed volunteers to the region to supplement the official rescue and relief operation.  Among them is Save the Children, which has sent in a team to assist people displaced by the floods.

Latha Caleb, head of the charity's operations in India, said people in many areas are running out of food rations and need shelter and warm clothing. But she said even accessing the flood-hit regions is posing a challenge for volunteers.

“They themselves have had to abandon vehicles, move on foot and take other vehicles after a point of time," Caleb explained. "Most of the communities are taking shelter in buildings that are kind of precariously standing there. There is no food, no water and there is a big need for medical help."

There were tens of thousands of visitors in the state when the disaster struck.  Uttarakhand is home to four revered Hindu shrines, and is also a popular tourist destination for people seeking to escape the sweltering heat of the plains during the summer holidays.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
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 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.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


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