PM promises relief to families of Uttarkhand flood, INS Sindhurakshak victims

New Delhi, Aug.15 (ANI): Addressing India's citizens on the occasion of the nation's 67th Independence Day, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Thursday expressed his grief over the loss of lives caused by flash floods in Uttarakhand and by the recent sinking of the kilo class submarine INS Sindhurakshak in Mumbai.

Delivering his 10th Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the historic 17th-century built Red Fort; Dr. Singh extended his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families, and said the entire nation was with them in their hour of grief and sorrow.

He promised that his government and allied agencies would provide them all support, relief and succour in their hour of need.

He paid special tribute to the personnel of the Indian Air Force (IAF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) who had sacrificed their lives during rescue and relief operations in Uttarakhand.

He also expressed his grief and shock over the reported loss of lives of Indian Navy sailors through the sinking of the kilo class submarine INS Sindhurakshak in Mumbai on Wednesday.

In June 2013, a multi-day cloudburst centered in Uttarakhand caused devastating floods and landslides in the country's worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami.

Heavy rainfall was also experienced in parts of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in India, some regions of Western Nepal, and some parts of Western Tibet, but, over 95 percent of the casualties occurred in Uttarakhand.

As of July 16, 2013, according to figures provided by the Uttarakhand Government, more than 5,700 people were "presumed dead." This total included 934 local residents.

Destruction of bridges and roads left about 100,000 pilgrims and tourists trapped in the valleys leading to three of the four Hindu Chota Char Dham pilgrimage sites.

Entire villages and settlements such as Gaurikund and the market town of Ram Bada, a transition point to Kedarnath, were obliterated. The market town of Sonprayag suffered heavy damage and loss of lives.

Pilgrimage centres in the region, including Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, the hallowed Hindu Chardham (four sites) pilgrimage centers, which are visited by thousands of devotees, were also heavily damaged by the natural calamity.

The Indian Air Force, the Indian Army, and paramilitary troops evacuated more than 110,000 people from the flood ravaged area.

The INS Sindhurakshak, a Russian-made Kilo-class Type 636 diesel-electric submarine of the Indian Navy, sank close to the Naval Dockyard on the morning of August 14, 2013 after a fire caused at least three explosions. At the time of its sinking, there were reportedly 18 crewmembers on board and all were feared dead.

Commissioned on 24 December 1997, it was the ninth of the ten Kilo-class submarines in the Indian Navy. (ANI)

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