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Centre ramps up rescue work

Smita Gupta &
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We have a window of just 48 hours to complete rescueoperations as more rain is forecast, says Air Marshal S.B. Deo

Putting mother before self:A woman pleads with a soldier to allow her mother to board an Army helicopter during rescue operations at Badrinath in Uttarakhand on Friday.— Photo: Reuters
Putting mother before self:A woman pleads with a soldier to allow her mother to board an Army helicopter during rescue operations at Badrinath in Uttarakhand on Friday.— Photo: Reuters

: Five days after devastating floods and landslides struck Uttarakhand, the UPA government is finally tackling the unprecedented disaster on a war footing, even though it is still shying away from declaring it a national calamity.

On Friday evening, Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth told the Crisis Management Team (CMT) — consisting of top civilian and military officials — that the government now just had 48 hours left in which to evacuate those stranded, as a fresh spell of rains is expected from June 23, something that will make the already difficult task of the rescue teams even harder.

Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, who gave the updated death toll, said that 556 bodies have been recovered from under the debris so far and more could be buried. Some 40 bodies were found floating along the Ganga.

Over 30,000 people are still stranded. Air Marshal S. B. Deo, who is overseeing the IAF relief operations that began on June 17, said, “The Cabinet Secretary told us that we have a window of just 48 hours to complete most of the rescue operations as inclement weather is expected.” But when asked whether he expected the various agencies involved in search and rescue operations would ...

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556 bodies found; 40 were floating in the Ganga

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