A call from a Tamil Nadu government official brought tears of joy to 57 persons from Chennai who are stranded in Uttarakhand. They will fly back to the city on Friday.

Speaking to The Hindu over the phone on Thursday, Latha Raju from Ambattur, one of the stranded, said she had lost hope of surviving the ordeal. “After seeing the landslides and the damaged roads, I thought my husband and I would not survive,” said an emotional Mrs. Raju.

Renukadharani, who works at the Chepauk office of the Public Works Department, was saddened the places were they shopped, had food and bathed in Kedarnath were washed away the next day.

V. Sivaprakasam, the tour operator from Guduvancherry, said the group would spend the night at Tamil Nadu House. “The government arranged a bus for us from Haridwar to Delhi,” he said.

Meanwhile, seven persons from Tiruvottiyur, thought to be missing, were rescued by the Army on Thursday.

Virender Singh Rana, senior PRO of the Gharwal Mandal Vikas Nigam , a government of Uttarakhand undertaking, said a group of 61 pilgrims from Kumbakonam would be brought from Uttarkasi to Rishikesh by helicopters. From there, they would travel to Delhi and then to Chennai. Another group of 10 from Chennai, who were safe in Phata, would be brought to Rishikesh.

He said the Uttarakhand government was willing to take assistance, including donation.

The rains, floods and landslides have taken a toll on the tourism revenue of the State. R. Anand, PRO, Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd., a government of Uttarakhand undertaking, said a large number of bookings had been cancelled. Mr. Rana said bookings worth Rs. 7-8 lakh have been cancelled and the money would be refunded soon.

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