Dehradun: A mammoth multi-agency rescue and relief operations were put in place on Thursday in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand for evacuating people from the worst-affected Kedarnath town and other areas even as the death toll is feared to be in several hundreds and an equal number missing.
50,000 people were still said to be stranded in various parts of the state that was hit by cloudburst and floods in the upper reaches that left several hundreds of homes, rest houses and buildings in ruins and thousands of people missing.

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The official death toll still stood at 150 but Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said the casualties could run into several hundreds which will be known only when areas become accessible and water recedes.

READ MORE: Thousands feared dead in flood-hit U’Khand
The state government's disaster mitigation and management centre had in the morning said that the causalities could run into thousands with about 90 dharamshalas (rest-houses for pilgrims) swept away in the flash floods.

Over 10,000 troops deployed in Uttarakhand    

Stepping up relief and rescue operations, the Defence Ministry has deployed more than 45 Army and IAF choppers along with more than 10,000 troops in the state.
IAF has deployed 20 Mi-17s and 16 Advanced Light Helicopters in the state where they have evacuated over 1,500 people. Army has also deployed over 8,000 of its troops along with over 3,000 personnel of the Border Roads Organization (BRO), Defence Ministry officials said in Delhi.

The Ministry said BRO has also been successful in reopening the important road axis from Rishikesh to Joshimath along with several other major roads in the last 48 hours.

Army has also deployed over 100 Special Forces troops in Kedarnath and Sonprayag area, which is cut-off till now, to link up with people who have been stranded there for last four to five days, they said.
"The Army has so far rescued more than 11,000 people, mainly from Govindghat and Harsil. About 10,000 people are also being provided food and medical assistance," an Army release said.
Sonia Gandhi monitoring rescue operations

Congress president Sonia Gandhi is monitoring the rescue and relief operations in flood-hit Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, a party statement said on Thursday.

According to the statement, one of the biggest rescue operations in recent history has been mounted by the central and state governments, in which nearly 12,000 people have been rescued, and provided food, shelter and accommodation.

Nearly 5,000 people are still stranded, and every effort is being made to trace and rescue them.

"The entire operation is being monitored by the Congress president for the last two days," the statement issued by Congress general secretary Ajay Maken said.

"She has instructed the two chief ministers and party units to help in the rescue operations. State party units have been asked to collect relief material and send it to the affected areas. The Youth Congress has sent rescue material. Party workers at the national level and in states are being told to help in the rescue operation," the statement said.

Sonia Gandhi will be visiting relief camps and other affected areas soon, the statement added.


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