Flood survivors recall horror

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Bengaluru: A five-member team of pilgrims who returned to Bengaluru from Kedarnath got an emotional welcome at the city railway station on Saturday.
Parents, friends and relatives greeted the survivors, who cheated death in Uttarakhand over the last one week. In fact, this was the team that had the last darshan of the Kedarnath shrine before the water levels rose and the entire temple town was submerged in water and slush.
For the next three days, the team had no contact with the outside world and had no clue about the devastation around them until they reached Karnaprayag. The team members said the villagers were very helpful and offered them food and shelter.
“Our sports utility vehicle was among the 600 vehicles that were stranded on the road to Karnaprayag. Then we reached Rudraprayag where the road network was completely devastated. We had to make a detour of 100 km towards Srinagar, because the roads were completely washed away.
At one point near Rudraprayag, a huge boulder had fallen on the road cutting off the vehicle movement. Then men from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police had to cut the boulder, which took two days. After which the vehicles could move in one direction,” said Jogesh Gowda of Rashtrodhan Parishad in Chamrajpet, a team member.
Even as stories of survivors being fleeced by locals are coming out, Gowda and other team members said they were treated well. “The locals approached bus passengers and other stranded commuters for food and also offered shelter to elderly women and children.” said Gowda.
Ravi Kumar, who has been traveling to Kedarthnath for the last three years, said, “We had planned our trip in June, anticipating rains in July. But our plans went awry. During four days of ordeal we had no communication for the first two days and we were worried about our safety. We are happy today as were fortunate to have returned. But there are many who could not make it,” he said.

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