New Delhi, June 19: Massive rescue operations and relief operations were on in north India after the region witnessed the worst floods since 1962. One hundred thirty people were reportedly killed while over 73,000 people were left stranded in Uttarakhand alone while 1,700 people were stranded in Himachal Pradesh. The death toll is likely to increase sharply once the water level recedes, sources said.
The famous shrine of Shiva, visited by pilgrims from across the world, was partially damaged by the flash floods, cloudbursts and landslides caused in various parts of the state since Sunday.
Local sources said 17 people were killed in a stampede inside the shrine as panic-stricken people rushed to flee the nature's fury. The major cause of destruction of Kedarnath town was the breaking of the Kedar dome, a glacier-like structure which affected the Charbari Lake reservoir located less than 6 kilometres from the shrine.
The Army has pressed 500 jawans in the rescue operations, termed 'Operation Ganga Prahar'. The Air Force has also begun its own operation termed 'Operation Rahat'.
The holy town of Kedarnath, located at an altitude of 11,760 feet and surrounded by snow-capped peaks, was a devastated site after the overflowing Mandakini River wreaked havoc on it. Officials said many people went missing in this region.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi are likely to visit Uttarakhand to take stock of the situation.