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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs