Riddhim Aggarwal, DIG and Additional CEO of Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority said, as of now there has been a well-coordinated response by all the agencies. In the last few hours the situation has improved and we can expect the water levels to go down soon.
At least 23 people are dead and many feared trapped under debris as heavy rains lashed Uttarakhand for the third straight day triggering flash floods.
The Nainital Lake is overflowing and that has flooded large parts of the city. The iconic Mall Road in the city, which is a major tourist attraction, wears the look of a river where people were forced to wade through waist-high water. Prime Minister Modi has spoken to the state's chief minister, and the army has joined the rescue efforts, along with the disaster management force.
There has been severe damage to infrastructure as well. The railway line connecting Kathgodom Station has been damaged due to a landslide.
A significant portion of the Haldwani Bridge was also washed away. All this is having a big impact on the rescue operations being undertaken on a war footing.
Flood waters have also inundated Jim Corbett National Park. Tourists stuck inside the National Park had to be rescued in tractors due to high water levels.
Also Read: At least 25 dead as rains wreak havoc in Uttarakhand; overflowing Nainital lake floods streets
A video of an elephant stranded amid the raging flood waters at Jim Corbett Park went viral on social media. Forest department officials say the elephant was rescued and they are taking more measures to save wildlife in the National Park.
Riddhim Aggarwal, DIG and Additional CEO of Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority, in an interview to Shereen Bhan, said, "There has been heavy rainfall since morning in six districts of Kumaon region, and most of the road network has been damaged; communication networks have been disrupted, power supply, water supply everything has been disrupted. We have pilgrims and tourists in these days, and they have been stranded at a few places, though the administration, in close coordination with SDRF, NDRF and Air Force have been trying to provide necessary food items, and essential commodities to the tourists stranded at various places. As of now, it's been a well-coordinated response by all the agencies, be it the state agencies or the central government agencies. Because of heavy rainfall, rivers have been flowing above both the warning levels as well as danger levels. However, over the last few hours the situation has improved. Some districts have reported rains having stopped and we can expect the water levels to go down soon."
She said most of the tourists have been rescued, and authorities are trying to get the routes opened by tomorrow or latest by the day after.
"Most of the tourists have been rescued. We had about 150-200 tourists staying at a resort in Ramnagar, and because of heavy water logging in and around the area they were all trapped there since morning. After we got choppers from the Air Force they have all been rescued. Now, we have a few locals who are stranded at a place near Reetha Sahib in Champawat. Rescue operations are underway, and we will try to take them to their destinations as soon as possible. The routes are blocked as of now, but we are trying to get the routes opened by tomorrow or maximum the day after."
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