Chamoli, Oct, 19: Heavy rain for the past three days has wreaked havoc in Nainital, Haldwani, Kathgodam, Ranikhet, Pauri, Lansdowne and Chamoli districts of the state. So far, 23 people have died in the disaster. 16 people died in the last two days only. 5 people died on Monday and 11 people died on Tuesday. The city of Nainital is cut off from the rest of the state. Due to the heavy rains, many houses collapsed and many people are trapped under the rubble.
Traffic has come to a complete standstill on three roads leading to Nainital due to the landslide and the tourist place has lost its connectivity with the rest of the state.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has said that many people are feared trapped under the debris after the cloudburst and landslides. Dhami assured that three army helicopters would arrive soon to assist in the ongoing relief and rescue operations in the state. Two of these helicopters will be sent to Nainital, where heavy rains have caused massive damage.
Giving information about eight of the 11 people who lost their lives on Tuesday, the State Emergency Operation Center (SEOC) said here that two separate houses collapsed following heavy rains in Totapani and Kwarav villages of Mukteshwar and Khairana in Nainital district respectively. According to the District Magistrate, Pauri, three persons died, while two were injured after a thatched roof collapsed in Lansdowne tehsil. The injured have been rushed to hospital. One person died in Rudraprayag, he said.
Meanwhile, a person was washed away due to heavy rains in the Bajpur area of Udham Singh Nagar, SEOC said. Four people were trapped under the rubble of a house in Rapid village in the Bhatrojkhan area of Almora district, out of which a woman was rescued. SEOC said that all the members of the same family were trapped in the rubble due to a building collapse in Bhikiyasen in the district but their number is not yet known. Four labourers including three women were trapped in the debris near Joshimath in Chamoli district. A female labourer was injured in the incident while the rest are safe.
CM Dhami on Tuesday took stock of the situation by conducting an aerial survey of the affected areas along with Disaster Management Minister Dr Dhan Singh Rawat and DGP Ashok Kumar. He directed all the district magistrates to assess the damage caused to the farmers and send a report to them at the earliest. Appealing to the people not to panic, he said that all necessary steps are being taken to bring them out safely. He again appealed to the Chardham pilgrims to stay where they are and not start their journey before the weather improves. He directed the District Magistrate of Chamoli and Rudraprayag districts to take special care of the stranded pilgrims on the Char Dham Yatra route.