Uttarakhand flood: Evacuation process likely to be completed by this evening

Dehradun, July 1 (ANI): Fifteen days after floods hit Uttarakhand killing hundreds of people and sweeping away numerous houses, the evacuation of all the stranded pilgrims and tourists is likely to be over by this evening.

Over 900 pilgrims were airlifted from Badrinath and 650 pilgrims reached Joshimath on foot yesterday. Rescuers from Army are engaged to locate the stranded pilgrims as well as locals on higher reaches in Pithoragarh.

Small helicopters from the Air force and private sector have been pressed into service to drop food packets to the villages totally cut off. About 200 such villages have been identified.

Over one lakh seven thousand and 600 stranded people have been evacuated from the affected areas so far.

Meanwhile, mass funeral of bodies was carried out in Kedarghati region on Sunday. 94 bodies have been cremated. DNA samples of the bodies, which could not be identified, have been preserved.

State Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has said a 200-member team consisting of officials of various departments, including police, health, animal husbandry experts and sanitation, is being sent along with equipment provided by the NDRF to both Kedarnath and Rambada to extricate the bodies from the debris and expedite the process of their disposal.

Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Saturday said that over 900 people have lost their lives as per the reports received by him, and added that over one lakh five thousand people have so far been evacuated.

Shinde further said that the combing operations would be carried out in the next three to four days to make sure that none are still stranded.

"The Government of India is providing all assistance. We have also formulated a scheme of Rs. 1,95,000 for Uttarakhand," he added. (ANI)

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