In one of the worst natural disasters to have struck North-India, at least 30 people were feared dead and over 50 missing in the flash floods that swept through Uttarakhand since Friday night.
The unrelenting rains have been pounding the Uttarakhand state, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir for the last few days. Massive landslides and flash floods were also triggered, bringing normalcy in the states to an indefinite halt.
Three officials of the fire brigade and two children were amongst the others who were killed in the floods. The children died in a roof collapse, while the flash floods washed away another child in Pokhri area. Three firemen were also swept away by the floods after the Gangotri Bridge collapsed.
Heavy landslides have blocked the main highways, mainly those that lead to Badrinath. Reports suggested that the fresh landslides have left hundreds of pilgrims stranded in Patalganga, Lambagar and Birahi.
The pilgrims' tour to Gangori and Yamunotri remained disrupted for the straight second day on Saturday. Officials are evacuating the inhabitants of Gangori area in Uttarkashi as the holy river Bhagirathi is reportedly overflowing and crossing the danger level.
Reports said that the government has asked for army interventions in carrying out rescue operations as the MET forecasted that the heavy rains would continue to pound the state for several more days.
Disaster Management and Mitigation Centre was put on high alert following a forecast that suggests heavy rains to come in the next two days. Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has directed officials to immediately undertake rescue operations and personally look into the calamity, a source said.
The source also said that the state government has temporarily closed the annual Chardham Yatra pilgrimage owing to the number of deaths caused by the unrelenting rains and flash floods since Friday.