Monsoon rains and unprecedented flash floods continued to spell death and destruction in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, claiming over 131 lives and leaving over 70,000 pilgrims for Himalayan shrines stranded.
The lashing rains in Uttarakhand have washed away a portion of Kedarnath shrine compound but the temple authorities said there have been no reports of damage to the temple.
"We have received some reports that a portion of the temple compound has been washed away. However, there has been no damage to the temple. Since it is not possible to reach there, the exact assessment of the damage cannot be ascertained. It is very difficult to get real-time information from the temple as communication links have been broken," Ansuya Singh Negi, Officer on Special Duty, Shri BadrinathShri Kedarnath Temple Committee, told over phone.
The officer said they are trying to help the stranded pilgrims in the best way possible but due to difficult terrain and worsening weather, the efforts are yieling little results.
He said efforts to send rescue teams by helicopters are on. The shrine is located at 3581 meters height which could be reached either by pony or through a trek of 14 kilometers from Gauri Kund or by helicopter but because of weather both the routes are not feasible.
Flash floods, cloudbursts and landslips have claimed 52 lives in Uttarakhand and damaged 175 houses across the state. Officials said the toll could rise manifold as there were many areas where rescue teams are yet to reach.
Rudraprayag was the worst hit with 20 people reported dead and 73 buildings, including 40 hotels, along the banks of the Alaknanda, swept away in the swirling waters of the river.
A total of 71,440 pilgrims bound for the Himalayan shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are stranded in Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi districts of Uttarakhand with the char dham yatra having been suspended.
While 27,040 devotees are stranded in Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi have 25,000 and 9,850 stranded pilgrims, Disaster Management authorities said.
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