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10,000 Killed in Monsoon Floods in Northern India


10,000 Killed in Monsoon Floods in Northern India

NEW DELHI, June 29, 2013 (Xinhua) --

More than 10,000 people may have died in the monsoon floods which swept through the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, washing away towns and roads two weeks ago, the speaker of the State Assembly said Saturday.

"No one can give the exact death count but after traveling to different disaster affected areas and information gathered from victims and other locals of the area I could say that death toll is around 10,000," the speaker, Govind Singh Kunjwal told the media in state capital Dehradun.

Meanwhile, authorities have been folding up evacuation in many parts of the state even as some 4,000 people are still said to be stranded in the mountains.

The state was hit by floods on June 16.

Editor: Hou Qiang

Mass cremations underway in flood-hit northern Indian state 

NEW DELHI, June 27, 2013 (Xinhua) --

The Indian authorities have started mass cremations of dead bodies in the flood-hit northern state of Uttarakhand's holy town of Kedarnath even as nearly 4,000 survivors are still waiting to be evacuated from the mountains, a senior official said Thursday.

"The mass cremations began Wednesday amid rainfall and is still continuing amid concerns about a threat of disease from decomposing bodies and poor sanitation. However, we are preserving the DNA of unidentified dead bodies which are being cremated. The mass funeral will continue for the next couple of days," he said on condition of anonymity.

But the authorities have not released any official figures of dead bodies in the holy town which is cut off from the rest of Uttarakhand after monsoon floods swept through the hilly state, killing thousands and washing away buildings and roads more than 12 days back.

Meanwhile, some 4,000 flood survivors are still said to be stranded in the mountains across the state even though the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force have been constantly air lifting as many people as possible despite bad weather in the state, in which a rescue chopper crashed Wednesday, killing 20.

"Efforts are on to evacuate these 4,000 stranded people. We hope to air lift them by Friday," a senior Indian Air Force official said.

Uttarakhand, popular for its holy shrines and rivers, was hit by monsoon floods on June 16. The state is said to have received this year the highest rainfall in the last 60 years.

Editor: Fu Peng

5,000 still stranded in flood-hit northern Indian state

NEW DELHI, June 26, 2013 (Xinhua) --

Indian authorities said Wednesday that rescue operations are continuing to evacuate at least 5,000 people who were still stranded in the mountains of the flood-hit state of Uttarakhand, despite bad weather that caused an Air Force chopper crash Tuesday evening, killing all 20 troopers on board.

"All 20 bodies have been recovered. The cockpit voice recorder has also been found. We will be able to ascertain the reason for the crash only after analyzing the cockpit voice recorder," Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, head of the Indian Air Force, told the media after reaching the state this morning to boost the morale of the force.

The Air Force chief added: "Though we lost brave personnel in the chopper crash, it should not dent our determination to carry out the rescue mission successfully. We will ensure every survivor stranded in Badrinath and Harshil sectors is evacuated."

A senior government official said that efforts have been on war- footing to evacuate some 5,000 people who are still stranded in difficult terrains of the hilly state, particularly in the towns of Badrinath and Harsil, more than 10 days after monsoon floods swept through Uttarakhand, killing thousands, mostly Hindu pilgrims, and washing away homes and roads.

"Though nearly 90,000 people have been rescued so far, some 5, 000 others are still waiting to be evacuated. Braving bad weather, rescuers are continuing air evacuation operations. We hope to rescue all by Thursday morning though heavy rains and landslides continue to hamper full-scale operations in the state," he said, on condition of anonymity.

Indian weather office says that the bad weather may continue till Friday, though the worst is over.

Uttarakhand is popular among Hindu pilgrims for its holy shrines and rivers. This year, the state has received the heaviest monsoon rainfall in the last 60 years.

Editor: Luan

70,000 evacuated from flood-ravaged Indian state, death toll rises to 680

NEW DELHI, June 22, 2013 (Xinhua) --

Indian authorities have evacuated a total of 70,000 people from flood-ravaged areas in the northern state of Uttarakhand while 22,000 remained stranded and official death toll attained 680, officials said Saturday.

Over 10,000 people were evacuated on Saturday from various upper reaches of flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, including the worst- affected Kedarnath, the Press Trust of India quoted officials as saying.

Rescue operation is racing against time as weather forecast says rain will return to Uttarakhand by Monday or Tuesday, which might hamper the work of rescuers and soldiers.

The chief minister of the state, Vijay Bahuguna, said death toll could attain 1,000, as more bodies are expected to be found among mud and debris.

On Saturday, officials said 123 bodies were recovered from the Kedarnath temple complex, raising the official death toll to 680, said Press Trust of India.

Uttarakhand and some other states in north India were taken by surprise by an early monsoon last weekend.

Many buildings along the Ganga river were washed away by flash flood.

Some blame over-construction of the Ganga banks for causing the heavy losses of life and property.

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