33 killed, 35 missing in cloudbursts

A series of cloudbursts struck Uttarakhand since Thursday night triggering landslides and flash floods that left 33 dead, 35 missing and several injured in parts of the hill state.
Ukhimath area in Rudraprayag district was the worst-hit as a cloudburst in the early hours flattened dozens of homes in eight villages killing at least 29 people in their sleep. Over 35 people have gone missing in the disaster and 15 were injured.
“Twenty-nine bodies have been recovered so far and 35 persons are still missing,” Piyush Rautela executive director of Disaster Management and Mitigation Department here said.
Villages like Chunni, Mangoli, Kimana, Sansari, Giriya, Brahmankholi, Premnagar and Juatok in Ukhimath area were the worst hit, he said.
As the calamity struck the region, authorities launched rescue and relief operations with the help of the Army and ITBP personnel. However, intermittent rains hampered relief and rescue operations, Mr Rautela said. Around 120 Army and ITBP personnel were pressed for rescue operations. A helicopter has been kept on the standby for evacuation.
Communication and power lines were disrupted and traffic along several roads, including national highways in the area, was affected, DMMC officials said. Rishikesh-Badrinath and Rishikesh-Gangotri highways have been closed due to landslips triggered by incessant rains.
Expressing shock over the tragedy, CM Vijay Bahuguna asked the DM to ensure relief and rescue operations on a war footing and sanctioned `10 crores for the purpose.

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