DEHRADUN: Bad weather hampered rescue operations on Sunday in rain-ravaged northern India where up to 1,000 people are feared to have died in landslides and flash floods that have left pilgrims and tourists stranded in remote mountains without food or water.
So far 557 bodies have been found after torrential rains struck the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand on June 15, flooding the Ganges river and devastating an area known as the “Land of the Gods” for its revered Hindu shrines.
More than 20,000 people were cut off in remote areas with the full extent of the loss of life only likely to emerge after flood waters recede and rescue workers reach isolated areas, officials said.
Raging rivers have swept away houses, buildings and entire villages. Dozens of helicopters and thousands of soldiers have been deployed to help people trapped across the state.
But air operations had to be suspended on Sunday due to rain and overcast conditions over the pilgrimage sites of Kedarnath and Badrinath as well as Rishikesh, which is popular with adventure tourists for its white-river rafting.
Twenty trekkers including six Americans were rescued Saturday after they were marooned near a remote glacier, while the army managed to make contact with nearly 1,000 people stuck in mountains near Kedarnath.