Adding to the woes of disaster-hit Uttarakhand, heavy rain obstructed relief operations on Saturday. In fact, the India Meteorological Department, forecasting heavy rain, has issued a warning for various places in the State till Monday.
Helicopters were unable to deliver rations to flood-ravaged villages in Uttarkashi, Chamoli, and Rudraprayag districts. However, some relief materials were delivered with the help of vehicles and mules.
Another fallout of the heavy rainfall was that no cremations were done in the Kedarnath Valley.
In Chamoli district, “a new problem has erupted,” said Rajpal Bisht, a resident of Gopeshwar. “Villages which escaped monsoon fury are also starving as blocked roads have cut off supplies.”
Nor can helicopters ferry supplies for the huge population in Chamoli.
District Magistrate S.A. Murugesan told The Hindu that helicopters were unable to supply relief materials for the past two days. So far, relief had reached 40 out of the 53 affected villages. Wherever possible, supplies were delivered through vehicles and mules, he said.
In Uttarkashi district, the situation is worse. Relief materials have not reached many remote villages even 20 days after the deluge. Till Friday, helicopters airdropped food in some parts. This was also affected on Saturday because of the rains.
Shiv Thalwal of Uttarkashi, said, “Godowns here are full of relief materials but there are no means of supplying them to the needy.”
In another problem, he said, water level in the Bhagirathi rose drastically on Saturday. A few families on the river bank had to vacate their houses.
Though the government has set up base camps to distribute relief materials in Uttarkashi, these are serving only nearby villages. Far-flung areas are deprived of assistance. There is no alternative path for mules to carry materials there.
The Executive Director, Uttarakhand Disaster Mitigation and Management Centre, Piyoosh Rautela, said, “Schools have been closed in the affected areas for now. Dozers have been put in place where there is a probability of roadblocks.”