Thousands missing, areas still cut off in Uttarakhand

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) Thousands remain missing and parts of Uttarakhand are cut off even a fortnight after the devastating floods, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said Tuesday.

NDMA vice chairman Shahidhar Reddy said the official count of the missing was over 3,000 but the NGO figures of 10,000 “cannot be ignored”.

The agency put the number of villages hit by the tragedy — one of the worst to hit India in recent times — at over 2,000.

Incessant rains in Uttarakhand for over three days from June 14 triggered flash floods and landslides, leading to hundreds of deaths.

Reddy said the rescue operations at Badrinath — one of the worst hit regions in the hills — were set to end as all stranded pilgrims had been evacuated.

“About 150 locals will be evacuated (soon) if weather permits,” he added.

Reddy admitted that supply of food to the affected villages — many of which have been washed away — posed a challenge as vast stretches of roads and bridges were not accessible.

On Tuesday, 100 tonnes of rice were given to the Badrinath administration for distribution to the needy, he said.

“Officials are trying to reach relief material to remote villages but poor road connectivity is a major problem. Choppers are being used to send supplies,” he added.

Eight teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are camping in the affected areas, helping the administration in restoring order.

Reddy said 1,025 people injured in the nature’s fury were being treated in hospitals.

Of the 3,727 villages which lost power connectivity, electricity supply had been restored in 2,283 villages.

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