12 dead, 5 missing after heavy rains in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi



Heavy rains have killed at least 12 people and destroyed property worth at least Rs 80-100 crore in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi, the worst-hit district in the state, over the weekend, officials said on Monday.

The torrential rains had hit about 12 villages including the worst affected Arakot, Makodi, Tikochi and Sanail villages in Uttarkashi, about 150km away from Dehradun on Sunday, damaging or washing away 20 houses. Several people were reported buried under their debris as rescue teams launched an effort to search for them.

“So far, the rescue teams have recovered 12 bodies which make the total casualties to 12 so far. Apart from this five persons are confirmed missing,” Sanjay Gunjyal, inspector general of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), said while briefing the media at the state secretariat.

“Among the deceased, seven are from Makodi and three from Arakot village respectively. One of the deceased is a resident of Tehri Garhwal district while another body is unidentified. The deceased include a 9-month-old infant, five women, four men and a 17-year-old girl,” Gunjyal added.

“Four injured, including a woman, were also airlifted from these villages to Dehradun for treatment,” he said.

The state’s secretary (disaster management) Amit Negi said government estimate so far shows that property worth about Rs 80-100 crore has been damaged in Uttarkashi.

“The complete assessment is yet to be done but so far by seeing the infrastructure loss in the affected areas of the district, the loss seems to be about the above-mentioned figures. Heavy damages have come to roads and bridges in the area,” Negi said.

He said rescue teams with relief material could not be airlifted to the affected areas on Sunday “because the weather conditions didn’t allow us to do so.”

“On Monday morning, the teams were airlifted and after reaching in Arakot, immediately established a communication set-up there. Arakot has been made as the base camp of rescue operations in the area as most of the villages affected are situated in the Arakot valley only,” he said. “The main problem in the area was communication.”

He also said that apart from SDRF, the rescue teams include personnel from Indo-Tibetan Police Force (ITBP), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and state police.

“Three helipads have been made up to assist the air rescue operations in Arakot, Tyuni and Mori villages. Right now, the priority is to attend the injured and provide them with treatment as per need. If needed, we are airlifting them to Dehradun,” he said.

The authorities are also in talks to with several departments to restore the basic infrastructure in the affected areas.

“We have already spoken to the officials of Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited (UPCL), Uttarakhand Jal Sansthan (UJS) and Public Works Department (PWD) to restore the infrastructure in the affected areas. Their personnel have already reached there,” said Negi.

He added officials have been asked to stay alert to tackle any kind of “emergency situations” according to the alerts of India Meteorological Department regarding rains in the state.

“Right now, we have received an alert of heavy rains in the Kumaon region of the state. Working on the alert, we have spoken to the local administration there who have made the required arrangements,” he said.

“We are in constant touch with them as the rescue works are also on in Uttarkashi district which falls in Garhwal region,” he added.

Separately, three people were killed and as many injured in three different rain-related accidents in Dehradun, Pauri Garhwal and Nainital districts on Sunday. Hundreds were evacuated to higher reaches, state officials said adding that roads were damaged at many places, hampering rescue efforts.

First Published:
Aug 19, 2019 13:09 IST

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