Dehradun, June 24: Air rescue operations resumed in Uttarakhand after a brief suspension on Monday morning due to rain. Thousands have been rescued so far while 7,000 more pilgrims were still stranded in Badrinath. Two hundred people were rescued from Govindghat, it is learnt.
Reports said rain will continue in Uttarkashi, Chamoli and Rudraprayag, which will seriously threat the rescue operations in the state which has been hit by an unprecedented natural disaster in the last week. The Met department predicted medium rainfall but also hoped that the sky will clear up in between the spells, helping the rescue teams to carry out their mission.
A minute's delay will minimise the chances of recovering alive people from the flood-hit areas. A state minister has already feared death of 5,000 people in the catastrophe.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, who has been under attack from various quarters over the 'man-made disaster' and the alleged lacunae in the rescue operations, said the rescue operations will take at least a fortnight more before curtains are drawn.
He said it was not possible to comment on the exact number of deaths in the calamity but predicted the number to be between 1,000 and 5,000.
Destruction of roads and bridges, inclement weather and threat of fresh spell of showers have seriously impeded the rescue efforts. The rescue operations have also been allegedly marred by problems in coordination.
At least 500 bodies were still lying in areas of the Kedarnath valley which are not accessible due to the floods.