Israeli survives Ganga's onslaught in Uttarakhand

Panaji, June 22 (IANS) A phone call from amidst the cold, watery ruins of flood-ravaged Uttarakhand Saturday finally brought peace to the tormented heart of an Israel father whose son had been missing after the nature's fury struck the state last week.

Nadav Ben Israel, in his 20s, who was Uttarakhand to learn yoga, was among thousands of those who remained stranded in Uttarakhand after India's holiest river, the Ganga, flooded following last week's torrential rains.

The flood in the north Indian state also triggered panic at a house in Israel where Nadav's father Yaron Ben Israel was waiting for a ray of hope for his 'missing' son fondly known as 'Deva'.

That ray of hope, Yaron said, streaked into his home Saturday after his son called him from an army base saying he was fine.

"Nadav called me today (Saturday) morning from an army camp. We were really worried for him. There was no word for several days. We kept trying for information but there were only stories of hundreds dying there," Yaron told IANS over phone from Israel. This correspondent telephoned the father after reading a Facebook post.

Nadav, a student of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said his father, trekked a soggy 100 km treacherous terrain with a friend before they found a shelter in a make-shift army relief camp erected for those stranded near Gangotri.

"Nadav was on a holiday. He had gone to Rishikesh to study yoga and wanted to take a detour to the Gangotri when the flooding happened," Yaron said, adding that his son had been missing for nearly a week.

Hundreds have drowned, while thousands of tourists, locals as well as pilgrims are stranded in various places along the Ganga banks in Uttarakhand after torrential rains, cloud bursts and landslides triggered one of the worst known floods in India in recent times.

The army has already been pressed into action to conduct relief and rescue work.

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