33 killed, 35 missing in Uttarakhand cloudbursts

33 killed, 35 missing in Uttarakhand cloudbursts

Ukhimath area in Rudraprayag district worst hit

33 killed, 35 missing in Uttarakhand cloudbursts

A series of cloudbursts struck Uttarakhand since Thursday night, triggering landslides and flash floods that left 33 dead, 35 missing and several injured in different parts of the hill state.

Ukhimath in Rudraprayag district was the worst hit as a cloudburst in the wee hours flattened dozens of homes in eight villages. At least 29 people were killed in their sleep. Over 35 people have gone missing in the disaster and 15 were injured.

“Twenty nine bodies have been recovered so far and 35 persons are still missing,” said Piyush Rautela, Executive Director of the Disaster Management and Mitigation Department (DMMD) here. Villages like Chunni, Mangoli, Kimana, Sansari, Giriya, Brahmankholi, Premnagar and Juatok in Ukhimath area were the worst hit, he said.

As the calamity struck the region, authorities launched rescue and relief operations with the help of the Army and ITBP personnel. However, intermittent rains hampered relief and rescue operations, Rautela said.

Around 120 Army and ITBP personnel were pressed for rescue operations. A helicopter has been kept on the standby for evacuation.

Communication and power lines were disrupted and traffic along several roads, including national highways in the area, was affected, DMMC officials said.

Rishikesh-Badrinath and Rishikesh-Gangotri highways have been closed due to landslips triggered by incessant rains.

Expressing shock over the tragedy, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna told the district magistrate to ensure relief and rescue operations on a war footing and sanctioned Rs 10 crore for the purpose.

Four persons were killed in flash floods triggered by a cloudburst in Bageshwar district on Thursday night.