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Monsoon fury

In this handout photograph released by The Indian Army on June 18, 2013, Indian security personnel supervise residents and travellers as they stand on the remains of a flood damaged road alongside the River Alaknanda in Chamoli district in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand on June 18, 2013. Torrential rains and flash floods washed away homes and roads in north India, leaving at least feared 60 people dead and thousands stranded, as the annual monsoon hit the country earlier than normal, officials said. Authorities called in military helicopters to try to rescue residents and pilgrims cut off by rising rivers and landslides triggered by more than three days of rain in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, officials said. -----EDITORS NOTE---- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / INDIAN ARMY" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Dramatic images of Uttarakhand rescue operations

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.