Where is India's relief going? Uttarakhand is starving

New Delhi, June 28: The tourists have been rescued and the politicians had their share of glory. But the situation on the ground is deteriorating and locals are at risk of being abandoned to their fate.

While hundreds of trucks carrying relief materials are stranded in around Dehradun and NGOs not knowing where to go, people in the villages of flood-ravaged Uttarakhand are staring at depleting rations.

"We have supplies left for just three or four more days," says Surendra Singh, the Gram Pradhan of Chaumasi village near Kalimath. His village road and bridge have been washed away and he had to walk for more than 22 km to reach Guptkashi.

Singh had come to Guptkashi along with other village pradhans to request the district administration for food supplies, tents and tarpaulin for shelter.

The villagers used to work in Kedarnath during the tourist season and now that will not be the case for few years. So, their demand is not for days, but for years.


Lack of electricity, proper drinking water and food supply are some of the major problems faced by people trying to rehabilitate themselves in the nearby villages.

They are without communication and starvation is imminent.

"We have come here to request district officials to reach supplies to our village. We are out of food, oil and safe drinking water," said another pradhan Trilok Singh Rawat.

Volunteers from NGOs and religious trusts have kept arriving here, their focus is to ensure aid reaches the locals and the villages. But they are faced with logistical challenges.

"We came here yesterday with one truck full of cooking material, food supplies, clothing and tents. But the villages which are in most need of these rations are those that are totally cut-off," said Acharya Dhananjaya of Arya Samaj.

"We have no idea of the terrain and the location of these villages. we are waiting for the local administration to point us towards them. We are even ready to rebuild the villages from scratch, but for that we have to reach them first," he said without knowing immediate solution.

Ravikanth Raman, the nodal officer for rescue operations in the Kedarnath area said that PWD teams have started surveying the area and rebuilding the road links.

"But that takes time, especially since these roads and routes have to be built all over again. It is not a matter of a few repairs. There has to be a total reconstruction. Till that time, helicopters are their only hope," Raman said.

But the helicopters won't stay long and the road to rehabilitation is going to be treacherous for human life.

With PTI inputs

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