Haridwar: 7:25 pm: Minister of State for Home RPN Singh speak to CNN-IBN on the flood situation in Uttarakhand. He says the government's primary focus to rescue people who are stuck in the hilly reaches of the state and cannot descend to lower heights. He adds that the conditions are very difficult thought paramilitary is doing its best. He also defends Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna's visit to Delhi and says his visit was very short. Singh says there will no discrimination in providing relief to those who are affected and adds that VIPs will not receive any special treatment. "Roads have been severely affected in Kedarnath," Singh says.
6:18 pm: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna says 500 roads and 175 bridges have been destroyed in the state due to massive landslides and heavy rains. He says thousands of tourists and pilgrims are still stuck in various parts of the state. He also informs that Gaurikund and Kedarnath route has been washed out.
6:09 pm: About 9,000 people have rescued so far from areas around Uttarkashi by road and by air, says Indian Army. Twelve specialist mountain rescue teams have been inducted in Uttarkashi for further rescue operations, Army further says.
6:00 pm: Prime Minister Monamohan Singh briefs media. He says he saw large scale devastation in Uttarakhand while conducting an aerial survey of the state. He says he fears the loss of life could be high. PM Manmohan also announces Rs 1000 crores for Uttarakhand as disaster relief fund, Rs 145 crore as immediate relief, Rs 2 lakh for those who have died and Rs one lakh each to those whose houses have been destroyed due to the floods. "The government will not spare any effort in providing relief to those affected by the tragedy," he says.
5:46 pm: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi conduct aerial survey of Uttarakhand to assess the ground situation.
5:14 pm: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna updates on the rescue operations in his state which has been hit by torrential rains, massive landslides and fatal floods. He says while there is no shortage of funds or resources, there cannot be an exact estimate of the death toll. Bahuguna also says it will take one year to restart the Chardham Yatra and that while the Kedarnath shrine is safe, the town has been reduced to debris. He further adds the Tehri dam on the Bhagirathi river in Uttarakhand stopped Western Uttar Pradesh from washing away.
4:27 pm: MoS Home RPN Singh briefs the media on the flood situation in Uttarakhand. He says 22 helicopters have been pressed to help with the rescue operations even as weather has shown some improvement. "2000 to 3000 people have been evacuated so far. Some people are stuck at home or hotels. Not all are in danger. And there is no shortage of food," Singh says. He adds that people in and around Kedarnath, where thousands are still stranded, are being airlifted.
4:02 pm: Karnataka has set up a helpline for those looking for the people from the state stranded in Uttarakhand: 080-22253707. Police sources say an estimated 900 people from Karnataka including about 500 from Bangalore are travelling along the flood-ravaged regions of Uttarakhand.
3:28 pm: The Indian Air Force teams carrying out rescue operations and evacuations in Uttarakhand say the process is a tedious one and will be long before it's over. At the moment, people are being evacuated from Kedarnath and being brought to a place where there is an Army camp or some scope of medicine and food.
3:10 pm: 5,000 guides and their animals that take pilgrims from Gaurikund to Kedarnath are missing. Authorities say rescue operations in the temple town will be over by Wednesday evening.
2:40 pm: The government has expressed concerns over people stranded in different parts of Uttarakhand. The Union Cabinet Secretary said 5,000 people were stranded in Badrinath and 3,000 in Dangi. He said medical aid is being provided and the NDRF and Army teams are helping in a big way in rescuing people. He also said more than 120 sorties are on the rescue mission.
Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna is expected to hold a press conference in Delhi on Wednesday.
1:54 pm: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi have reached Dehradun for an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas of Uttarakhand.
1:40 pm: Sources in the Indian Air Force say 18 helicopters have been deployed for rescue operations. The Sarang aircraft has also been pressed into service. 580 people have been airlifted to safer areas so far and 4 tonnes of relief material has been air dropped, say sources.
1:09 pm: The Maharashtra government has decided to give Rs 10 crore to the flood-hit Uttarakhand.
12:54 pm: Seventeen helicopters have been pressed into service to rescue people in Uttarakhand. Sorties since Tuesday have been over 92, but more efforts are required. 580 people have been rescued while operations have taken place at Kedarnath, Gaurikund and Ukhimat.
12:50 pm: Army medical emergency helpline numbers: 18001805558, 18004190282, 8009833388
12:36 pm: The Kedarnath-Badrinath Committee chief, Ganesh Godiyal told CNN-IBN that the temple shrine was safe but everything else around the temple has been destroyed by the floods. He also said 20 temple staff members were missing.
12:16 pm: Over 5,000 people are missing in Gaurikund in Uttarakhand. The Kedarnath helipad has been damaged due to floods.
11:50 am: More Helpline numbers:
Uttarkashi: 01374-226126, 226161
The ITBP has also established helpline and control room for information on Uttrakhand: 011-24362892 and 9968383478.
11:30 am: The Uttarakhand flood situation discussed at the Congress Core Group meeting today. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed the Food Minister to ensure that food supplies reach those affected.
11:00 am: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has said that there is not enough manpower for such a natural disaster.
10:31 am: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has tweeted, "Spoke to Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna ji. Assured him any help required in relief work and asked about people from Gujarat affected by floods."
10:00 am: Around 8,000 pilgrims are still stuck in Badrinath due to road blocks. ll communication lines at Badrinath are down. Over 3,000 Sikh pilgrims have been rescued from Hemkund Sahib and have taken shelter at the Army relief camp in Joshimath.
9:40 am: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi are likely to go on an aerial survey of the flood-ravaged areas of Uttarakhand on Wednesday afternoon. Meanwhile, rescue operations are on in Kedarnath as 14 helicopters have been pressed into service.
Piyush Rautela, Director of Uttarakhand's disaster management centre, said, "Rescue operations are on in Ramban and Kedarnath. We are trying to reach as many people as possible and are hoping to finish rescue work in Kedarnath by afternoon.
The monsoon that hit North India early is continuing to wreak havoc in Uttarakhand, killing more than 100 people and leaving over 70,000 tourists and pilgrims stranded. The death toll is expected to rise with 500 people still missing.
The famous Kedarnath shrine has suffered damage after it was almost completely submerged by floods and mudslides, while shops and houses around it have been razed to the ground. More than 50 people have lost their lives in the flooding at Kedarnath and over 6,000 pilgrims were stranded out of which 800 have been rescued and are at Kedarnath Phata.
Some of the pilgrims who returned from the shrine after being stranded there for two days said that Kedarnathpuri has been totally damaged by the flood. Barring the Kedarnath shrine and some of the structures adjoining it, most of the residential wings of the temple are damaged. Bodies of pilgrims are lying in debris of damaged houses, the pilgrims said.
The Met department forecasts of heavy rain continuing are giving no signs of respite. Helicopter rescue sorties are on near Haridwar, after the government dispatched National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams to aid in rescue work. However, incessant rains and landslides have crippled communications in the state and seriously hampered rescue oprations.
Several roads including the National Highway 24 have been blocked to avoid any more traffic jams. Uttarkashi has been badly hit by the flash floods in Uttarakhand where several bridges have been washed away and at least 70 homes been destroyed. Around 200 relief camps have been set up for those stranded.
"More persons are feared dead at Tejam in Pithoragarh district," Chief Secretary Subahash Kumar told reporters on Tuesday evening. However, he expressed inability to give a precise figure of casualties in Pithoragarh saying choppers cannot be landed at many places due to heavy flooding. He said the possibility of casualties "rising manifold" cannot be ruled out as many places with crowded settlements in the worst hit Rudraprayag district are heavily inundated, so much that they cannot even be seen from the choppers that were flown over them to take stock of the situation.
Massive casualties are feared at the thickly populated Rambara in the district where nothing is visible from above, Garhwal Commissioner Subardhan who was also present at the joint press conference said.
Uttarakhand Helpline numbers: 0135-2710334, 2710335, 2710233
Yamuna flowing above the danger mark posing a threat to Delhi
The threat of flood, meanwhile, loomed large over Delhi as the water level in Yamuna climbed well above the danger mark. Around 1,500 people in the various low-lying areas of east Delhi have been evacuated and sent to relief camps. "The water level of Yamuna crossed the danger mark of 204.83-m at 7 am and reached 205.58-m at 7 pm," officials in the flood and irrigation department said.
They said the water level would touch 207.05-m around noon on Wednesday which will be around 2.22-m above the danger level as 9.5 lakh cusecs released by Haryana in the last two days is expected to reach Delhi. The Old Yamuna Bridge, connecting east Delhi with the heart of the national capital, was shut to rail and road traffic early on Tuesday as the water level rose dangerously.
A high alert has been issued in Uttar Pradesh following heavy rainfall across the state and the release of water by several barrages in the past 24 hours.
Four persons were killed in rain-related incidents in the state, including three teenagers who were struck by lightning in Maharajganj. Another woman was killed and six others injured when a house collapsed in heavy rains in Muzaffarnagar.
Sources said that the Sharda was flowing above the red mark at Palia Kalan with directives having been issued to evacuate 44 villages in the Mahsi area in Bahraich. MeT sources, however, said that there could be a decrease in rainfall soon although they also warned of heavy showers in isolated areas of eastern UP in the coming 24 hrs.
According to Central Water Commission sources, the levels of Sharda, Rapti, Ghaghra, Burhi Rapti, Rohin and Kuano rivers were steadily on the rise. A report from Bahraich said that with the release of 4 lakh cusecs from Nepal through Banbasa barrage, the threat of floods was imminent in the district.
Principal secretary irrigation, Deepak Singhal, said that of the 75 districts in the state, 23 were very sensitive and 11 sensitive from the flood point of view.
(With additional information from PTI)IBN Newsroom Buzz: Uttarakhand floods are a national tragedy in the truest sense of the term, says Rajdeep Sardesai