Rain Kills 6 in Uttarakhand, Pilgrimage Halted

Dehradun: At least six people were killed and thousands of pilgrims doing the annual Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand were stranded as unrelenting rains lashed the sub-Himalayan state and triggered flash floods and landslides, officials said Saturday.

The pilgrims were stranded on way to Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath – the four points of pilgrimage in the mountainous state, officials said.

Three fire fighters were killed in Gangotri due to heavy rains. A bridge was also washed away here and over 40 houses submerged in the overflowing Bhagirathi river.

The government confirmed the “temporary closure” of the annual Char Dham pilgrimage and said that since Friday night six people, including three fire fighters and three children, were killed in the downpour.

Officials told IANS that Garhwal was the worst hit area.

Two deaths were reported from Chamoli after two children died in a roof collpase. A child was swept away in Pokhri.

Uttarkashi has also been hit by flash floods.

Officials said following warnings of “more and severe rains” in the next two days, the Disaster Management and Mitigation Centre is on high alert and Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna was monitoring the situation.

Areas en-route to Badrinath – Birahi, Patalganga and Lambagar – have reported landslides, leading to long traffic snarls.

“Several pilgrims are stranded on the roads due to landslides and damaged roads,” an official told IANS.

-IANS

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