Warning of heavy rainfall in next two days brings back memories of 2013 tragedy
GN Bureau | June 26, 2015
Haunted by the memories of devastating floods and deaths in 2013, the Uttarakhand administration has halted pilgrimage to the Himalayan shrines of Kedarnath and Badrinath as the hills have been experiencing incessant rainfall since Wednesday. Even pilgrims bound for Hemkund Sahib have been stopped at Ghangaria.
In 2013, flash floods had ravaged parts of Uttarakhand claiming over 5000 lives.
The situation is expected to turn worse as the Met department has predicted heavy rainfall for the next 48 hours, especially in Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Pauri, Almora, Pithoragarh and Nainital.
A flood alert has also been sounded in areas along the Bhagirathi river. In Sonprayag a vital bridge that connects the area to Gaurikund has been washed away halting road traffic.
Heavy rains have sent the Mandakini river into spate as a result of which the motor bridge between Sonprayag and Gaurikund on way to the Himalayan shrine was washed away. The bridge was very important as it was used for vehicular traffic on way to Kedarnath.
Evacuation efforts are underway to rescue the pilgrims stuck en-route to Kedarnath. SDRF personnel have rescued a total of 400 pilgrims stranded at different points on yatra routes and moved them safely to their destinations.
There are reports of sweeping away of temporary foot bridges in Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Pithoragarh districts. In Pithoragarh district national highway Tanakpur-Tawagaht and Thal-Munsyari motor road has been blocked due to landslide triggered by heavy rains. The water level of several rivers in the state has also risen.
Meanwhile, pilgrims bound for these shrines have been stopped at Rishikesh.
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