We have escaped from the jaws of death, say pilgrims

The rescued victims of the floods and landslides in Uttarakhand were shocked at the horror which unfolded in front of them. “The pilgrimage was a hell of a time. We have escaped from the jaws of death but the horror of the fierce nature is still afresh,” they said.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) arranged a bus from Hyderabad to Vijayawada to bring the pilgrims who arrived in special flight from Delhi to Hyderabad arranged by the party. They reached here on Tuesday. The survivors, who came back from Uttarakhand, brought relief to their worried relatives. Most of the survivors were in poor health, having fought cold, hunger and dehydration.

Recounting the horrifying experiences, J. Sridevi, a resident of Thotlavalluru, said: “We have seen people washing away in the fury flood waters. Two of our companions died of starvation.” Stating that she was in a 19-member team, Ms. Sridevi said two of their team members died of starvation and whereabouts of six more were not known. It was a heartbreaking experience to leave the dead companions behind, but it was not possible to bring them back, she said.

The journey was frightening. The first few days were the most difficult as the local shops and hotels got washed away and no one from the administration was there to help. “We had become like beggars, with torn clothes and injuries,” M. Vijayalakshmi, another pilgrim, said.

They said they had spent agonising days and sleepless nights in the jungles. “There was no food for two days. I survived just on the few biscuits that I was carrying,” said L. Mangamma, resident of Vallabhapuram near Tenali.

More In: Vijayawada