Dehradun, June 21: It is the fourth day of rescue operations in flood-hit Uttarakhand where thousands still remain stranded and untraced after incessant rain caused serious flash floods and landslides. The death toll across the state has risen to 150 although the number is expected to increase sharply.
Son far 33,000 people have been rescued from the adversely affected areas but over 35,000 are yet to be evacuated. Helicopter sorties were taking the stranded to safer grounds throughout the day. Besides the army, the air force, natural disaster response force teams and other forces were working round the clock to evacuate the distressed.
The stretch between Kedarnath and Guptakashi is critical but the big challenge for the rescue teams lies between Ram Bara and Gaurikund. While evacuations are likely to continue for another week, air operations will go on for three more days. The Sonprayag-Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi-Rishikesh roads have now been opened.
After completing the rescue operation in Kedarnath, the challenge for the army is to reach Badrinath, where over 7,000 people have been still left stranded. A major part of the 28-km road leading to Badrinath has been washed away.
Sources in Uttarakhand government said that over 3,000 people were still stuck near Ghangaria, on the way to Hemkund Sahib. Four helicopters were reportedly carrying out rescue operations in this area.