Uttarakhand reported at least 42 rain-related deaths on Tuesday with many people still trapped under the rubble after landslides, while Uttar Pradesh witnessed four fatalities, even as heavy downpour in Kerala filled several dams to the brim and multiple districts were on alert. In view of the incessant rains, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami reiterated his appeal to Chardham yatris to stay where they are and not to resume their journeys before the weather improved.
"The number of casualties in the Kumaon region alone has crossed 40," DIG Nilesh Anand Bharne told PTI. With 42 new fatalities in the Kumaon region, the death toll in the disaster has risen to 47 as five deaths were reported on Monday. Of the 42 fresh deaths, 28 people were killed in Nainital district, six each in Almora and Champawat and one each in Pithoragarh and Udham Singh Nagar districts, the official said.
The connectivity to Nainital was restored in the evening after hours of struggle amid inclement weather, officials said. Chief Minister Dhami undertook an aerial survey of the rain-hit areas and later interacted with the affected people on ground zero to make an assessment of the damages caused. He announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in rain-related incidents across the state over the last two days.
Director General of Uttarakhand Police Ashok Kumar, who accompanied Chief Minister Dhami on a visit to the rain-hit areas of the Kumaon region, said roads, bridges and railway tracks have been damaged in Kathgodam and Lalkuan in Nainital and Rudrapur in Udham Singh Nagar. It will take at least four-five days to repair the damaged tracks, Kumar told PTI.
Three Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters have arrived in the state and are assisting in relief and rescue operations. Two of them have been deployed in Nainital district, which has suffered extensive damage due to cloudbursts and landslides, Dhami said.
According to a rough estimate, around 100 pilgrims from different parts of Gujarat who had gone to Uttarakhand for the Chardham Yatra were stranded following heavy rains and landslides, Gujarat Revenue Minister Rajendra Trivedi said.
The National Disaster Response Force has rescued over 300 people from flood-affected areas of Uttarakhand, the federal force said on Tuesday. The NDRF has deployed 15 teams in the state.
Rainfall was reported from other parts of the country as well including Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, according to the IMD, which forecast an intense spell of rain over east and northeast till Wednesday, and south peninsular region during the next four-five days.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu expressed anguish on Tuesday at the loss of lives due to heavy rains in Uttarakhand and urged people to follow the instructions issued by the local authorities for their safety.
"Pained by the loss of lives due to heavy rains in Uttarakhand. My condolences to the bereaved families. As the rescue operations are underway, I urge people to stay safe and follow the instructions issued by the local authorities," the Vice President Secretariat tweeted, quoting Naidu.