New Delhi: Over 2,500 people were rescued on Sunday from Badrinath in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) said.

Another 6,000 are expected to be rescued by evening. All of them have been brought to Joshimath, said ITBP spokesman Deepak Kumar Pandey at a briefing.

"Nearly 500 people are stranded still in Jungle Chatti (area and) we are carrying out aerial surveillance to rescue them," he said. With Sunday's evacuation, the ITBP has rescued close to 22,000 people from the hills of Uttarakhand, where hundreds have died in cloudburst and savage floods.

ITBP has also built a road from Badrinath to Hanuman Chatti to speed up the rescue operations. "Earlier, we had to bring people from Badrinath till Hanuman Chatti by foot, but now the road has been built, we are bringing them by vehicles," Pandey said.

He said that bodies were being found from hills and jungles, five to ten kilometres away from the Kedarnath shrine. "As the flood came, several people ran towards the hills but must have got lost in the woods with no sense of direction... with no food and water, they died," said Pandey.

The government says 557 bodies have been found and some 20,000 people were still awaiting evacuation. Some officials and rescuers have said the fatalities may run into hundreds if not thousands.


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