Kedarnath (Uttarakhand), June 23 (ANI): A Sikh Gurudwara 100 kilometers away from flood-stricken region of Kedarnath has become a temporary relief venue for about 8,000 stranded tourists.
Harvinder Singh, head of the Gurdwara, Hemkund Sahib Management Trust disclosed that about 2,500 travelers came to the Gurudwara on June 15. The number increased to 7,000 or 8,000.
Indian authorities have evacuated a total of 70,000 people from flood-ravaged areas in the northern state of Uttarakhand, while another 22,000 remain stranded. Also, the official death toll reached 680, officials said on Saturday.
Uttarakhand is located at the foothills of the Himalayas near the Ganges River. A large number of pilgrims trek there for a pilgrimage every monsoon season when natural disasters are frequent, including landslides, mudslides and floods.
The Sikh temple in Sri Nagar, less than 100 kilometers away from Kedarnath, is providing free food, medicine and rooms for the pilgrims.
One of the pilgrims staying at the temple, Gulzar Singh, who was rescued from the flood-ravaged area by helicopter on Saturday said that the heavy rain lasted for three days and the travellers had no water "We could only drink rainwater. We used rainwater to cook and make tea. The floods, including our two Innovas ", he said, washed around 300 to 400 cars away.
Rescue workers are racing against time as weather forecasts predict rain will return to Uttarakhand by Monday or Tuesday, which might hamper the work of rescuers. (ANI)