Days after three bodies were recovered and three shops were destroyed as heavy rain triggered a landslide in Gaurikund, a major stop in the Kedarnath yatra in Uttarakhand’s Rudraprayag district, the search for 20 missing people continued.
The landslide took place on Thursday (August 3), at around 11.30 pm amid heavy rainfall in the Kedar valley. During the incident, boulders and other debris fell downhill, destroying the shops in its path. The three who died and the 20 missing were all at the shops.
Soon after, local residents, police and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) reached the spot and began search and rescue efforts. However, with debris continuing to fall, the operation had to be halted.
The next morning, the SDRF team, along with the local police and personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), conducted searches and recovered three bodies.
According to information provided by the State Emergency Operation Centre, 20 people, including 14 Nepalese nationals, remain missing as of Monday.
The SDRF, NDRF and police personnel continued the search for the missing.
The three destroyed shops were located by the Mandakini River, and authorities suspect that the missing people may have been swept away in the river.
A deep diving team has been put into action, tasked with searching the river, from Sitapur to Sonprayag, using state-of-the-art equipment.
In addition to this, another SDRF team is conducting searches at the Kund Barrage.
SDRF Inspector Karan Singh, who is heading the search operation, told The Indian Express that strong flow of the river was posing a challenge to the efforts.
Around 30-40 people are involved in the search and rescue operation, Singh said.
Ranjit Kumar Sinha, secretary, Disaster Management, reviewed the damage caused due to recent disasters in the state at the Secretariat on Monday. He said that in order to assess the damage caused by excessive rain, flood, and other disasters, the central inter-ministerial team formed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs is proposed to visit Haridwar district between August 8 and 11.
Sinha also instructed all departments to prepare category-wise details and accurate data of all damages caused during this monsoon period as soon as possible. He said that all the departments should prepare year-wise data of damage caused in each monsoon period so that a comparative study can be done.