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Monsoon fury

Indian army officials help travellers and villagers up a steep slope after they were stranded by the rising floodwaters of the River Alaknanda near Govindghat, Chamoli District in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand on June 18, 2013. Military helicopters have carried out emergency food drops June 19, for thousands of people stranded by flash flooding from early monsoon rains which has killed at least 120 in northern India, officials said. AFP PHOTO/STR

Dramatic images of Uttarakhand rescue operations

June 22, 2013

The Indian Army has launched what could be one of the biggest human rescue operations ever in the country, in Uttarakhand.

The Army has mobilized troops for rescue and relief efforts, as it simultaneously reached out to over 8000 people on all four different axes, viz, Rishikesh – Uttarkashi – Harsil – Gangotri axis; Rudraprayag – Kedarnath axis, Joshimath – Badrinath axis and Dharchhula – Tawaghat axis in Pithoragarh district. It also opened road up to Uttarkashi after clearing 16 landslides.

Communication nodes have been established at Gaucher, Harsil, Joshimath and Rudraprayag to enable people to contact their families. 30 Satellite phones have so far been inducted, 20 more are likely to be inducted for use by stranded pilgrims.

Army is presently carrying out reconnaissance to examine the feasibility of making a larger helipad at Gagaria on Hemkund Sahib axis so that large number of people can be evacuated using MI-17 helicopter.

Efforts are presently underway to repair the bridge over Alaknanda between Govindghat and Ghagria on Hemkund Sahib Road.