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    Heavy monsoon rains flood temple in India

    10:11 AM, Jun 18, 2013   |    comments
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    INDIA (CNN) -- Heavy monsoon rains lashed incessantly across parts of north India especially wreaking havoc in the hill states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, leaving more than 50 people dead and hundreds stranded. Rescue operations are underway on war footing. Army has set up medical aid posts in three affected areas in Uttarakhand. The Army along with the ITBP , NDMA and BRO are in full swing carrying out rescue operations and clearing the blocked roads for smoother traffic of the stranded vehicles.

    The monsoon has struck early and it's already creating mayhem across the country. Uttarakhand has been battered by the rain fury. The torrential rain caused landslides in the higher reaches and swept away several roads and bridges in Uttarkashi and Chamoli districts. The worst affected districts in the state are Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi, Gaurikund and Kedarnath. Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said that the government is taking all necessary steps to provide relief in affected areas.

    The unprecedented rains have led to suspension of the annual Kailash Mansarovar yatra. The pilgrims have been stopped in Buddhi, and according to Indo-Tibetan Border Police, they are accommodated in various locations and the route will be opened again after things get normal.

    The Chardham Yatra to Uttarakhand's Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamnotri shrines in Garhwal division has come to a halt due to heavy landslides and landslips. Landslides were reported from over 12 places on the Rishikesh-Gangotri, the Dehradun-Yamnotri, the Rishikesh-Badrinath and the Rishikesh-Kedarnath National Highway. Six hanging bridges built on Alaknada and Mandakini rivers in Chamoli and Rudrapryag districts were also reported to have collapsed on Sunday. Over 12,000 tourists and pilgrims on their way to Chardham Yatra are stranded on these routes. Over 500 ITBP personnel are carrying out rescue and relief operation for stranded yatris. District administration is also providing all assistance to stranded yatris including drinking water, food and medical help. Two teams of National Disaster Response Force are also assisting in relief work in Rudraprayag district of the state.

    Met department has said that the next 24 hours will remain critical, after which situation will ease a bit. In Himachal Pradesh, incessant rainfall triggered massive landslides in the Sangla Valley and the area remains cut-off since Sunday. Over 1000 tourists and locals were stranded at various places, including 800 in Sangla alone and heavy rains were hampering the rescue operations. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and over 1,500 tourists are stuck after the landslides blocked the road leading to the valley in Kinnaur district.

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