Express News Service

DEHRADUN:  Incessant rains have been lashing parts of Uttarakhand since October 16, forcing the state to temporarily suspend the Char Dham Yatra on Monday. Higher reaches of the hill state, including Darma, Vyas and Johar Valley, have received snowfall of more than six inches in the last 48 hours. 

Earlier, the MeT department issued a warning for three days from October 17. Districts of Pauri, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Almora, Nainital, Bageshwar, Champawat, and Chamoli remain worst affected by incessant showers. Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Monday and assured him of all help.

At least five people, three in Pauri district and two in Champawat district, have died due to rain-induced landslides. Many villagers have said that they have not seen such rainfall in their lifetime. The government has instructed authorities in all 13 districts to take precautionary measures. The government has already deployed 34 teams of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) across all districts.

Anil Sharma, assistant commandant from the SDRF who is stationed in Srinagar in Pauri district, said: “We are monitoring the situation and on alert 24×7. Our workforce and equipment are all in place for immediate rescue efforts.”

Hundreds of villagers are stranded following 50 minor landslides that have blocked over 59 connecting roads. More than 200 people trapped in Purnagiri of Champawat district were rescued while over 2,000 pilgrims of Char Dham Yatra were sheltered at safe locations.

Bikram Singh, director of Uttarakhand MeT department said, “The rains are result of western disturbances. This can continue at least till Tuesday evening.” The meteorological department issued a special release on Sunday sounding a red alert for rains in several parts of the state. 

Red alert for more rainsThe state Met department has sounded red alert for rains in parts of the state. It advised people living in landslide-prone areas to remain alert