Three choppers were deployed for relief and rescue operations in cloudburst affected villages of Uttarkashi and Dehradun districts on Monday. Four injured were airlifted from Aarakot and brought to Dehradun for advanced medical care. The natural calamity, which hit four villages located on Uttarakhand-Himachal Pradesh borders on Sunday, witnessed mass casualties. Officially, ten persons were killed and their bodies were recovered, while six persons remain missing. But, this is the initial data as the rescue team is yet to reach all the affected villages.

Most of the rescue team had to trek and negotiate cloudburst hit road to reach affected villages. About one dozen villages were affected by the cloudburst. Amit Negi, secretary of disaster management, said, “One Indian Air Force chopper and two other private choppers are being used in the relief and rescue operations. In some of the affected villages we have failed to establish contact, so teams were dispatched there today. Thirty-two persons have lost their lives in rain-related disaster this year. In 2018, about one hundred persons were killed in Monsoon related disaster.”

The death toll could go high as it is estimated that the calamity has affected over two thousand families. The Uttarkashi District Magistrate and Dehradun District Magistrate are camping in the affected area. Cloudburst created havoc at Makudi, Aarakot, Moldi and Tikochi on Sunday morning.

The Uttarakhand government has established three helipad grounds-one each at Tyuni, Aarakot and Makudi- for relief and rescue operations. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said, “SDRF and medical teams are deployed in the affected areas. We will be taking help of army choppers. Communication services have been restored in Arakot and Makudi. The National Highway has been made functional. Efforts are being made to normalize the situation by evening.”

Packets containing relief material were airdropped at the affected village in Aarakot and Mori. The biggest challenge is before the Uttarakhand government is to restore the road connectivity in the affected area and send relief/rescue team there.