Uttarkhand floods: 12 more bodies found, task force to comb area

Uttarkhand floods: 12 more bodies found, task force to comb area

As the first anniversary of the flash floods which claimed thousands of lives in Uttarakhand approaching fast, authorities recovered 12 more skeletal remains and cremated them in Kedar valley today.

"Twelve skeletal remains were recovered from Junglechatti area on way to Kedarnath shrine last night which were cremated today after DNA sampling and other formalities," Rudraprayag District Magistrate Raghav Langar said.

Now, the total number of skeletal remains found and disposed of in the area this season has gone up to 21, he said adding the combing operations resumed in search of bodies in the middle of March this year will continue.

Five bodies were found in Junglechatti on June 11 while four more were recovered earlier after the resumption of combing operations in areas close to Kedarnath, the DM said.

With just two days to go for the first anniversary of the horrific tragedy, the Uttarakhand government constituted a special task force to conduct intensive combing operations in the forests adjoining Kedarnath in search of bodies.

IGP Sanjay Gunjyal will be in-charge of the task force which will conduct combing operations over the next 20 days, Chief Secretary Subhash Kumar said.

The District Magistrate said considering the massive scale of devastation caused by the calamity it is not surprising that bodies are still being found in the area.

"About 3,890 people had gone missing after the tragedy who must have scampered into the ridges and forests nearby to save themselves.

We disposed of 545 bodies in Kedar valley alone found during combing operations last year which had to be given up with the onset of winter when the area becomes snow-bound.

"Now that the snow has melted, bodies are coming to the surface," Langar said when asked how these could not be spotted despite lying in ridges along the road.

There is a possibility that more bodies can be found in days to come, he said.

"Bodies may still be trapped under tonnes of rubble in the area and with the onset of monsoon they are likely to come to the surface," the DM said.

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