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‘Destruction all around’: Hundreds dead, tens of thousands missing in India monsoon (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Published time: June 22, 2013 08:44
Edited time: June 22, 2013 14:53
Download video (8.57 MB)

Early monsoon rains have swept northern India, causing floods and landslides, killing at least 1,000 and leaving tens of thousands missing, officials report. About 100 towns and villages remain cut off since Sunday, and the death toll is expected to rise.

Many of the missing are pilgrims and tourists that were at the foothills of the Himalayas at the Ganges river, which is sacred to Hindus, at the time the disaster struck.

Buildings, cars and trucks along the banks of the river have been swept away or flooded.

Thousands of troops have been deployed to assist in the rescue operations, and the air force has dispatched helicopters to pick up survivors. 

Soldiers stop survivors from going near an army helicopter as its lands during rescue operations at Badrinath in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand June 21, 2013 (Reuters/Danish Siddiqu)

Around 34,000 people have been rescued from the area, and 50,000 are still stranded in 100 towns and villages in the Himalayan state of Uttrakhand, Home Affairs Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters.

Northern India has been experiencing monsoon rains since Sunday. Authorities have dispatched emergency trains to the devastated areas to rescue people.

"Whatever is humanly possible is being done," Reuters quoted Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari as saying.

Rescue workers use excavators to scour the debris for survivors at the site of a collapsed residential building in Mumbra, in Thane district, on the outskirts of Mumbai June 21, 2013 (Reuters/Vivek Prakash)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that the state will provide financial support from its national relief fund, with US$3,400 to be given to families who lost members, US$840 to those suffering injuries, and financial support provided to those who lost their homes.

The prime minister also pledged US$167 million to Uttarakhand, the hardest-hit state.

Hundreds of people came out in Uttrakhand’s capital Dehradun to search for missing relatives and express discontent with what they believe is the government’s slow response to the disaster. Witnesses told AP that authorities were not efficient at evacuating survivors and lacked appropriately-sized vehicles to transport large numbers people at a time. 

"There was destruction all around", said 50-year-old housewife Jasveer Kaur after she was evacuated. "It was a nightmare."

A body lies amid damaged surroundings by flood waters near Kedarnath Temple at Rudraprayag in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand June 20, 2013. (Reuters)

Google has launched its Person Finder application to help people locate and trace missing individuals.

World leaders are offering their help to India to tackle the aftermath of the disaster. Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences on the heavy death toll and severe damage and offered Russia’s support in tackling the consequences, the Kremlin press service stated.

The monsoon rains have now alleviated, though more are expected next week. 

Heavy rain is important for planting season in India, but if the floods continue, then sowing season may be delayed, and crops already been planted put at risk.

Indian disaster relief personnel assist an elderly woman into an ambulance after being evacuated from flood-hit areas at the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, state capital of Uttarakhand on June 21, 2013. (AFP Photo)

Rescue workers use excavators to scour the debris for survivors at the site of a collapsed residential building in Mumbra, in Thane district, on the outskirts Mumbai June 21, 2013. (Reuters/Vivek Prakash)

Indian pilgrims evacuated from flood-hit areas by the Indian Air Force (IAF) arrive at the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, state capital of Uttarakhand on June 21, 2013. (AFP Photo)

A body lies amid damaged surroundings by flood waters near Kedarnath Temple at Rudraprayag in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand June 20, 2013. (Reuters)

Comments (18)

Anonymous user 28.06.2013 05:01

Some comments r sadder t/n the displayed images-Animals w/d b more empathetic t/n these neanderthals

Anonymous user 25.06.2013 19:01

Posting rules state no racism or hatred but that is all I see. Hatred is a disease, pretty sad.

Anonymous user 25.06.2013 04:34

An act of god whiping away the scum of the earth. Population control at its best. Less cancer...

View all comments (18)
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