New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday announced Rs 1,000 crore for disaster relief measures in flood-devastated parts of Uttarakhand where 102 persons have been killed and thousands left stranded at tourist spots and pilgrim centres.

"I have decided to provide an amount of Rs 1000 crore to Uttarakhand for disaster relief, of which Rs 145 crore is being released immediately," Singh said after a meeting with state Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna.

Singh, who undertook an aerial survey of rain-ravaged Uttarakhand along with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, said what they saw was "most distressing" and the priority for the authorities was to rescue the stranded people.

"What UPA chairperson and I saw was most distressing. While the most recent estimates put the death toll at 102, it is feared that loss of lives could eventually be much higher," Singh said.

Over 10,000 personnel of the armed forces, 18 helicopters and a transport plane of the Air Force have been deployed for relief and rescue operations in the state. He said more than 10,000 people have been rescued and were being provided food, clothing and shelter. "Many persons still remain stranded. The maximum damage has been in Kedarnath and its vicinity," he said.

The Prime Minister announced ex-gratia assistance of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of those who have lost their lives and Rs 50,000 each to those injured. In addition, ex-gratia assistance of Rs one lakh each would also be provided to those whose houses have been completely destroyed and Rs 50,000 each to those whose houses have been damaged.

"Our hearts go out to the families of those who have lost their lives and those who have suffered injury or loss of property in this huge tragedy," he said.

He said about 5,500 jawans and officers of the army, 3,000 men of the Border Roads Organisation and 600 ITBP personnel were engaged in relief and rescue efforts.

Thirteen teams of the National Disaster Response Force have also been deployed, Singh said adding the Air Force has deployed 18 helicopters and a C-130 aircraft.

Private helicopters have also been engaged by the state government. "The central and state governments will continue to work in close coordination to ensure that every possible effort is made not only to provide immediate relief to the affected persons but also to help them reconstruct their lives," he said.


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