Army has launched one of the biggest human rescue operations in Uttarakhand. It today mobilized troops for rescue and relief efforts, as it simultaneously reached out to over 8000 people on all four different axes, viz, Rishikesh – Uttarkashi – Harsil – Gangotri axis; Rudraprayag – Kedarnath axis, Joshimath – Badrinath axis and Dharchhula – Tawaghat axis in Pithoragarh district. It today opened road upto Uttarkashi after clearing 16 landslides. Road has also been opened upto Sonprayag on Kedarnath axis after successful launch of bridge across Vasuki Ganga between Mundkatiya and Sonprayag. 2500 stranded people have been evacuated from Sonprayag due to this newly opened road.
Area of Kedarnath is totally cut off, especially the stretch between Gourikund and Sonprayag. Troops skilled in mountain rescue operations including paratroopers heli dropped with specialized equipment have been inducted to reach out and link up with people stranded in isolated areas along Kedarnath and Badrinath axis.The Army has so far rescued more than 11000 people, mainly from Govindghat and Harsil. About 10000 people are also being provided food and medical assistance.
On receiving information that 50 to 60 people were stranded and isolated on Pindari Glacier and 12 on Sunder Dunga Glacier in Kumaon region, an Army column led by two officers and 77 soldiers reached Kapkot in Bageshwar district this morning. The column is currently moving by foot towards Gumla and is expected to reach both the glaciers and is likely to link up with people by 21 June.
Army also established contact and rescued 11 members and 43 porters of a mountain expedition from Arva Tal on Gangotri – Mana axis. Expedition members have now been brought safely to Ghastoli and will be relocated to Badrinath after medical aid is rendered.
Communication nodes have been established at Gaucher, Harsil, Joshimath and Rudraprayag to enable people to contact their families. 30 Satellite phones have so far been inducted, 20 more are likely to be inducted for use by stranded piligrims.
Army is presently carrying out reconnaissance to examine the feasibility of making a larger helipad at Gagaria on Hemkund Sahib axis so that large number of people can be evacuated using MI-17 helicopter. Efforts are presently underway to repair the bridge over Alaknanda between Govindghat and Ghagria on Hemkund Sahib road.
Six Army columns are also currently deployed for rescue & relief operations in Pilibhit, Muzaffarnagar, Laksar and Amroha in Uttar Pradesh. Two other columns have since returned from Saharanpur and Bijnor districts after evacuating 98 people and construction of anti flood bund. 114 people have been evacuated so far from Pilibhit district.