Thursday, June 20, 2013

Uttarakhand Disaster authority fears casualties in thousand


The National disaster appear to be the Himalayan tragedy, massive loss of life the natural catastrophe unprecedented  in the last three to four decades continue to unfold on Thursday with fears that thousands of pilgrims staying in 90 rest houses in Uttarakhand may have been washed away in flash floods even as rescue operations were stepped up with additional IAF choppers pressed into service. 

A state Authority Uttarakhand State Disaster Mitigation and Management Centre in its report to Union Home Minister has said that casualties in the affected areas may run into thousands with about 90 'dharamashalas' (rest houses for pilgrims) swept away in the flash floods. preliminary  the toll has been kept officially at 150.

With the weather clearing up, the focus was on rescue operations both in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh where two IAF and one state chopper was making sorties to rescue 600 stranded tourists.

 Uttarakhand, over 15,000 people stranded in Kedarnath and Govindghat on way to Hemkund Sahib have been evacuated so far to Joshimath relief camps through air and road routes, IG police R S Meena said.

"Apart from the 12 helicopters already engaged in rescue operations in affected areas, eight more have been roped in for the purpose to step up the process," Meena said.

Rescue efforts are being concentrated as of now on Kedarnath shrine and its adjoining areas in Rudraprayag district which has been the worst hit with about 90 dharamshalas in the temple area, where pilgrims were staying.Having been swept away by the flood waters, he said. Two helicopters have flown from Dehradun to evacuate stranded people.

Army has also deployed its mountain rescue teams to evacuate the pilgrims. Scores of villages remain under water and cannot be tracked.Hence there is uncertainty about the casualties caused, he said, adding the "devastation is massive".

Rescue efforts also picked up in rain-battered tribal Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh with two IAF and one state chopper making sorties to rescue 600 tourists and others stranded in remote areas.

The sorties started at 6.30 AM in the morning and people stranded at various places for past five days are being dropped at Rampur, official sources said.

In all, 278 people were evacuated till Wednesday evening and about 600 tourists and other people were still stranded at various places.

In Uttar Pradesh, the water levels in the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Sharda, Ghaghra, Rapti and Kuanon continued to rise at several places.

The Mavi Satpudha Dam breached on the left bank of the Yamuna river in Shamli district on Wednesday and efforts were on to plug it with the help of locals, officials said.

Some areas in Saharanpur city were still submerged, while rail traffic on the Saharanpur-Ambala route was disrupted due to waterlogging. In Bijnore, the water level of the tributaries of the Ganga was rising.

Relief and rescue operations continued on a war footing and people were being shifted to safer places in Lakhimpur Kheri, Bahraich and Farrukhabad districts, officials said.

However, the weather remained dry in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh with no report of fresh rainfall in the region.

The flow of water through Hathni Kund barrage over Yamuna river near Yamunanagar in Haryana has also decreased as against the unprecedented 8.06 lakh cusecs water discharge over the weekend.

Revenue department officials of Haryana are conducting a survey to ascertain the damage caused to crops due to heavy rains last week in districts of Yamunanagar, Karnal and Panipat recently.


A bench of justices A K Patnaik and Ranjan Gogoi directed the governments to deploy sufficient number of helicopters to rescue flood-affected people in the area. "We direct as an interim measure that all stranded people be provided immediate relief by the state and district authorities by giving them food, medicines and other essential things including fuel," the bench said.
It asked the Centre and National Disaster Management Authority to provide all required resources to the state governemnt. The court passed the order on a PIL filed by a lawyer Ajay Bansal seeking its direction to Centre and state governemnt to rescue people stranded in the state.
The bench also said that authorities should not discriminate among the affected people in relief and rehabilitation operations after the petitioner alleged that government agencies are neglecting people stranded in Gangotri. It also asked the Centre to file a report on the relief and rehabilitation work in the state on 25th June when the case will be taken up for further hearing.
"We also direct, depending on the availability of helicopters, sufficient number of helicopters be deployed for picking up the stranded persons," the apex court said in its order. Although the official toll is over 150, it is feared that thousands of pilgrims staying in 90 rest houses may have been washed away.

Uttarakhand The Rescue Operation

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Uttrakhand state government  said that Rudraprayag was the worst affected district and about 500 roads and 175 bridges have been washed out in flash floods in different parts of the state. State Government has set up helpline numbers at Dehradun to provide information about flood-hit areas and people.

The helpline numbers are 0135-2717300, 2716201, 2710925, 09411112985 and 09412054085.
The state Government has also put up the names of people rescued from flood-hit areas on the state Police websitehttp://www.uttarakhandpolice.uk.gov.in.
Private Helicopters stranded at Dehradun do not have the permission to fly for help of victims at devastated Uttarakhand  as per the reports on E Channels. However the government is working on war footing in Uttarakhand, the army has begun air evacuation of isolated pockets along Govindghat -Badrinath road and Ghagriya -Hemkund track. Nine Army helicopters have been pressed into service and an additional six helicopters would be operational from today. The Army has conducted two days of uninterrupted humanitarian assistance to stranded people in Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Pithoragarh districts. Most of the roads and many villages are still submerged in water, make journey difficult to the devastated state, rescue operations are moving with the help of para military and army units.  Army has also inducted 12 medical teams and opened an emergency medical helpline. Over 10,000 personnel of the armed forces have been deployed for relief and rescue operations in the stateReports suggested that the famous Kedarnath shrine, where 50 people died in the landslide that accompanied torrential rain and flash floods, is intact notwithstanding the heavy damage all around.
With clear sky  in the last two days, no fresh incidents of landslides and flooding. Accompanied by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made an aerial survey of the worst-hit areas while Union Home Secretary RK Singh also undertook a similar mission separately.
Uttarakhand Principal Secretary Om Prakash said the death toll in the state has gone up to 150 but was not in a position to give the exact estimate since several villages in Chamoli and Rudraprayag districts in the upper reaches were still under water.
Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna told reporters that he was also not in a position to give the exact estimate of death and destruction which he said was unprecedented in the state. It would take one year to restore normalcy on the road to Kedarnath from the after effects of the cloud burst which he described as a “Himalayan tsunami”.
The first priority is to rescue the stranded people especially those on pilgrimage from various parts of the country, distribution of medicines and rehabilitation and compensation for the affected, he said.
The Chief Minister said very heavy casualties are feared, electric poles have been uprooted and several roads have been damaged in the calamity, the scale of which was not imagined.
5,000 people are in Gauri Kund. With the weather clearing in most places, operations commenced in full swing to rescue the stranded, especially in Badrinath shrine where 12,000 pilgrims are still stuck. While 1,500 pilgrims and locals were rescued from in Chamoli district, 1,200 stranded tourists were evacuated in Rudraprayag.
Officials said that evacuating people to safer places was their priority as recovery of bodies can be taken up later.
On the steps being initiated by the government to provide succour to the victims, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said in New Delhi that IAF helicopters have been deployed to evacuate stranded people from Gaurikund while a control centre has been established in Badrinath.
“Fourteen teams comprising 540 persons of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in Uttarakhand. 62,790 people are stranded in Uttarakhand. 5,000 people have been rescued by the Army,” Shinde said.
Rescue operations were also on in rain-ravaged tribal Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh for the second day on Wednesday and one state and two IAF choppers were evacuating stranded people at various points in Kinnaur district and adjoining Kaza area of Spiti.
“The exact number of people stranded at various places is not known, but the priority is to evacuate tourists and the aged and ailing persons first,” HP Principal Secretary (Home), Tarun Sridhar said.
ITBP DG Ajay Chadha said that it was difficult to give exact figures of those rescued as a number of agencies were involved in the relief efforts.

Miroslava Nemcova new Czech PM

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Nemcova proposed by ODS as new Czech prime minister

Předsedkyně Poslanecké sněmovny Miroslava Němcová.
 
 
 
 
Prague – Czech Chamber of Deputies chairwoman Nemcova Miroslava is candidate of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) for prime minister after the resignation of Prime Minister Petr Necas, ODS acting leader Martin Kuba told journalists after a meeting of the party board todayPRAGUE, Czech Chamber of Deputies chairwoman Miroslava Nemcova is nominated by the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) as prime minister after the resignation of Prime Minister Petr Necas, ODS acting leader Martin Kuba said after a meeting of the party board on Wednesday. Necas resigned due to the scandal involving his closest aide Jana Nagyova on Monday. The ODS has already informed TOP 09 leader Karel Schwarzenberg and LIDEM leader Karolina Peake about her nomination.
TOP 09 and LIDEM have said Nemcova is acceptable for the post. But Bohuslav Sobotka, leader of the opposition Social Democrats (CSSD), said the nomination of Nemcova is a risk for the whole nation.
Nemcova said the decision to accept the candidature was not easy. “Simply a moment comes in one’s life when you have to summarise the support that was given to you and you find out that you have to give something in return,” Nemcova said.
Along with Kuba, Nemcova will attend the Friday meeting with President Milos Zeman at which they will try to convince him that not early elections, demanded by the opposition, but the renewal of the current government is the best solution to the current crisis

World News at Glance


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Elderly woman killed by floods in southwestern France

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Reports that US is ready for war in Syria ‘exaggerated’ – Obama
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N. Korea slams ‘Mein Kampf’ accusation

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Media agencies.

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