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Uttarakhand: 8,000 still stranded, death toll climbs to 822

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Uttarakhand: 8,000 still stranded, death toll climbs to 822
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Gauchar: Over 8000 people remained stranded in Uttarakhand on Tuesday with fresh landslides, cloudbursts coupled with torrential rains hampering rescue operations as the death toll climbed to 822 with 142 bodies being found, including 127 in Kedarnath.

Rescue operations were suspended in Joshimathdue to rains while landslips in Tehri district left a woman and a child dead. There were also reports of fresh cloudburst in Devprayag and heavy downpour in AugustyaMuni in Rudraprayag.

127 more bodies were recovered since yesterday from Kedamath area. At least 15 corpses were found floating in Ganga in different districts of Uttar Pradesh including Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahr and Bijnore, taking the toll in the tragedy to 822, officials said.

Four choppers made sorties to Badrinath today and only 60 people were evacuated when the weather cleared around noon, officials said, adding over 8000 people remain to be evacuated.

Foggy and overcast conditions in Dehradun had delayed take off by choppers at Sahasradhara helipad and Jolly Grant Airport but air rescue operations resumed with improvement in the weather.

The IAF, Army and Uttarakhand administration launched a massive operation to send logistics like firewood and fuel for conducting last rites of those killed in the worst-hit Kedarnath Valley.

Multiple agencies undertaking relief and rescue operations are increasingly getting worried about the imminent spread of diseases and the rotting of bodies in the temple town area as the tragedy is ten days old now.

Truck loads of dry Deodar wood and ghee have been despatched to Kedarnath and efforts were underway to conduct mass ritual cremation of bodies strewn over the premises after their identification, post mortem and DNA preservation formalities, a senior police official told PTI.

With the bodies already beginning to putrefy, the air is laden with a foul stench giving rise to fears of an epidemic outbreak in affected areas.

PTI

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