Racing for lives, racing against time

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Bangalore, June 24: 10,000 still stranded, awaiting help, 1000 dead and counting. These are the recent statistics a week after the Uttarakhand floods.

But, is it the end? Perhaps no. The met department worries in anticipation of an impending rainfall in the region; but they are not the only ones to worry. The centre, the state, the army, air force and most of all, the relatives of those still stranded are clinging on to an almost impossible hope that it might not rain after all.

Anand Sharma of the Met department, however, brushed the idea aside saying they were predicting light to moderate rain. "June 24 to 26 will be crucial. Low clouds might affect flying but we are hoping for it to improve," he said.

Hence begins a new struggle and a race against time. The defence personnel are gearing up to brace nature's wrath to a greater extent. They have cut down on the possibility of bringing back the bodies of the deceased because that would jeopardise the lives of those stranded.

The government has announced cremation of the deceased in Kedarnath itself. The DNA samples of the deceased, however, have been preserved for later identification. It is yet to be declared how the government plans to go about the entire process of analyzing and identifying the dead and informing their families.

"It would be a Himalayan task of maintaining the records and delivering them to the respective families. This might require the members of the families to give their DNA samples too. We are working on the SOP now that it has been declared," said a government official.

Meanwhile, with the shoe-string resources and absolutely no hope for a better weather, the army and the paramilitary forces run against time to save more lives. They have planned to build a Burma bridge across the Alaknanda river to help people escape from the Badrinath-Govindghat stretch by foot. Many such bridges and helipads have been built in the past one week to reach the people stuck in inaccessible areas like Yamunotri and Jungle Chatti.

Gauri Kund now


Damaged hotels and houses at Gauri Kund on Friday following landslides and floods in Uttarakhand.

ITBP rescue pilgrims

ITBP personnel rescuing pilgrim at Gauri Kund on Friday following landslides and floods in Uttarakhand.

In Chamoli

Army personnel rescue stranded pilgrims to a safe place in flood-hit Govind Ghat in Chamoli, Uttarakhand on Tuesday.

In Kedarnath

A view of the washed off buildings around Kedarnath Dham in Uttarakhand on Tuesday following incessant rains and floods.

In Chamoli

Army personnel rescue stranded children and other pilgrims to a safe place in flood-hit Govind Ghat in Chamoli, Uttarakhand on Tuesday. Floods triggered by torrential rains have stranded many people in the state.

In Govind Ghat

Army personnel rescue stranded children and other pilgrims to a safe place in flood-hit Govind Ghat in Chamoli, Uttarakhand on Tuesday.

In Govind Ghat

Army personnel rescue stranded pilgrims to a safe place in flood-hit Govind Ghat in Chamoli, Uttarakhand on Tuesday.

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