PM, Sonia to conduct aerial survey of flood-hit Uttarakhand (update-PM)

New Delhi, June 19 (ANI): Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Wednesday informed that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi will conduct an aerial survey of flood and landslide affected areas of Uttarakhand this afternoon.

"The Prime Minister and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhiji were briefed about the flood situation at 7, Race Course (Road). At around 2 p.m., the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhiji will go to Kedarnath and take an aerial view of the situation there and come back," he said.

Shinde said the personnel of the ITBP and National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) have rescued around 4,000 people stuck in the flood-hit state.

"Three to four battalions of the ITBP are working in Uttarakhand in the rescue operations. The ITBP has given shelter to 6,400 people there, they all are in Joshimath. 14 teams are working in the rescue operations there, 540 persons are of the NDRF," he said.

Shinde informed that as many as 62,792 pilgrims are still stranded in Uttarakhand.

"The army has rescued approximately 5,000 people so far. Over all, 11,000 people have been rescued so far," he said.

The Home Minister said according to the report received by him 69 people have so far lost their lives.

Asserting that all efforts are being made to rescue people in the affected areas of Uttarakhand, Shinde said a control centre is being set up in Badrinath for rescue operations and the Home Ministry is in constant touch with the local authorities.

He said, food packets and blankets have been sent and local doctors arranged, for people in the flood-affected areas.

The Prime Minister spoke to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna last evening, and assured all assistance in rescue and relief operations in the flood-hit state.

Dr. Singh has also directed all agencies of the Union Government to assist in rescue and relief operations in the flood affected areas of the state.

On the request of state government and directions of the Defence Ministry, helicopters have been made available and are assisting in the rescue operations. (ANI)

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