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Jun 18, 2013 at 12:14pm IST

Uttarakhand floods, landslides leave 40 dead; over 60,000 stranded

Haridwar: There is no end to the monsoon fury in Uttarakhand with the death toll in floods and landslides touching 40. Over 60,000 tourists and pilgrims have also been stranded at various locations.

Chopper sorties have resumed on as the weather cleared a bit. The government has dispatched NDRF teams to help in rescue operations. However, incessant rains and landslides have crippled communication, severely hampering rescue operations.

ALSO SEE Rains ravage Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh

The Dehradun Met department says the state capital received a record 340 mm of rainfall on Monday and the Met department has forecast more heavy rains in the next 24 hours. Several roads, including the National Highway 24, have been blocked to avoid any more traffic jams.

Landslides have been continuing in various parts of the state. In Almora, four people died after a bus got caught in a landslide. In Dehradun, three people died after a house collapsed and several highways around Dehradun have been blocked now. Also, in Pithoragarh, 60 houses have been damaged and all rivers are flowing above the danger mark.

ALSO SEE Monsoon covers India early, bounty for some, mayhem for others

A large number of structures including shrines, hotels, rest houses, commercial and residential buildings collapsed like a pack of cards in Rudraparayag district. Five bodies were recovered near the Kedarnath shrine in the Rudraprayag district on Monday morning, the Disaster Management officials said.

Cloudbursts and landslips killed 13 at Rambara in the district, they said adding a number of people were reported missing. Seventy-three houses were totally damaged in Rudraprayag, 60 in Pithoragarh, 19 in Uttarkashi, 10 in Dehradun and one each in Tehri and Bageshwar.

The river Ganga at Haridwar in the Dehradun District of Uttarakhand is now flowing in high flood situation. Several highways like the between Delhi and Haridwar, Rishikesh and Yamunotri and Gangotri and the Badrinath National Highway are blocked for now.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, who took information from the District Magistrates on the extent of damage caused by the flash floods through video conferencing, expressed grief at the loss of lives in the calamity describing it as a "huge" one. Rescue operations were going on on a war-footing with the help of ITBP, BSF and the Army but bad weather was proving a hindrance, he said.

Chardham and Mansarovar pilgrimages, suspended following torrential rains, would be resumed as soon as the weather improves, Bahuguna said.

Monsoon mayhem: Many dead in Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh

Ten deaths, including five members of a family, were reported from Himachal Pradesh while 1,500 tourists, mainly from West Bengal, remained stranded in remote Kinnaur district after incessant rainfall triggered landslides. Also stranded was Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who was electioneering for the Mandi parliamentary by-poll slated June 23.

In Uttar Pradesh, 15 people were killed in heavy rains and floods in Saharanpur and a flood alert was sounded in several districts as the Ganga, Ghaghra and Sharda are in spate, officials said. All the deaths in Uttar Pradesh were in Saharanpur, where many pilgrims are trapped in the Shakumbhari Devi area following the rain and floods. Among the dead were a chief medical officer from Punjab and his family of five, who drowned after being caught in raging river waters.

Flooding has been reported from Saharanpur, Bijnore, Muzaffarnagar, Gorakhpur, Siddharthanagar, Azamgarh, Lakhimpur Kheri, Ballia and Varanasi.

Delhi saw heavy rains over the weekend and intermittent showers continued Monday morning. The city received 58.5 mm of rain from 8.30 pm on Sunday to 8.30 am on Monday, leaving roads inundated and traffic snarls in the morning rush hour.

In Haryana, rescue teams on Monday evacuated 52 villagers, including 15 children, from a riverine island in Yamunanagar district while rescue operations were on in Karnal district where nearly 200 people were stranded in Shergarh Tapu and Chandrao villages.

The Yamuna river, which enters Haryana from Uttarakhand at Hathnikund barrage in Yamunanagar district, had swelled since early Saturday after over 800,000 cusecs of water was released Monday morning through the Hathnikund barrage.

With the water expected to reach Delhi on Tuesday, the state government on Monday began evacuating people from low-lying areas along the banks of the Yamuna.

The monsoon this year had set over Kerala on schedule June 1 and advanced fast, covering the southern, eastern and central states within two weeks.

Uttarakhand Disaster Control Room: 0135-2710334, 0135-2710335, 0135-2710233

(With additional information from PTI and IANS)

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