Home Ministry monitoring rescue and relief operations in flood-affected areas

New Delhi, June 18 (ANI): The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is closely monitoring the rescue and relief operations in flood-affected areas of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh

After receiving the reports on June 15 of the torrential rains leading to floods and large numbers of travellers/pilgrims being stranded in Uttarakhand, the Ministry of Home Affairs asked the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) to swing into action and provide assistance in conjunction with the district administration to the stranded travellers / pilgrims.

The IG, ITBP, of Uttarakhand was asked to get in touch with the Chief Secretary and provide whatever assistance was required by the State Government.

Two teams of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) were already available in Uttarakhand. 12 additional teams have been dispatched. The State Government also made a request for Helicopters to rescue the stranded people.

The Ministry of Defence was accordingly requested and they have made available the helicopters. Due to bad weather the helicopters could only start operating this morning. 50 pilgrims have been rescued from Kedarnath and brought to Gupt Kashi. Further sorties are in progress to evacuate the stranded.

A meeting was held by Union Home Secretary R. K. Singh with the representatives of the State Government, BRO, ITBP, NDRF, Indian Air Force and Ministry of Defence yesterday to review the steps being taken and plan for the operations. The Border Road Organisation (BRO) has mobilized its personnel to try and facilitate restoration of road communication across the different routes.

Up to now, 34 persons have lost their lives in different parts of Uttarakhand. Two teams of NDRF have reached Kedarnath today and have started relief and rescue operations. 72 persons have been rescued by 2:30 PM. An advance party has reached Gaurikund in order to assess the requirements, for further intensifying the relief work.

The Union Home Secretary has been in continuous touch with the Chief Secretary, Uttarakhand.

Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has had a telephonic conversation with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and assured all possible support.

Approximately 1000 tourists were reportedly stranded in Rekong-Peo and 500 in Sangla Valley. Helicopters have been dispatched to Sangla Valley this morning for rescuing the stranded. The BRO has been asked to assist the State PWD in restoring the communication to both Rekong Peo and Sangla Valley. One team of NDRF has reached Sangla and the other team is on way to Po to assist the district administration in relief work.

The devastation in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh has been extensive. Efforts are in full swing for search and rescue of the affected persons. The Central Government authorities are extending all the assistance as sought for by the State Governments. (ANI)

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