About 300 residents of Ukhimath near Rudraprayag in Uttarakhand, who offered Char Dham pilgrims different services, have gone missing since June17 when flash floods devastated the area.
“These villagers have just vanished, and we have not been able to find them alive or dead,” said a person, identified as Satish Rauthan, on Thursday.
“Worst of all, most of them were the breadwinners of their families and only God can help us now,” said Deepak, who has been searching the area for his brother for five days.
Ukhimath is 41 km from Rudraprayag. In winter, the idols of the Kedarnath temple, Tungnath and Madhyamaheshwar, are brought here and worshipped for six months.
As the focus has been on rescuing stranded pilgrims, food and medicine are yet to reach Ukhimath and dozens of other villages across Uttarkashi, Chamoli and Rudraprayag in the Garhwal division and Pithoragarh and Almora in the Kumaon division.
Some help has started reaching Ukhimath; District Magistrate Dilip Jawalkar has rushed officials, including patwaris (village accountants), to make a headcount of the population.
Union Minister for Water Resources Harish Rawat, who is touring Kumaon, told The Hindu on Thursday that the Kapkot, Dharchula and Munsiary blocks were the worst affected by landslips and flash floods that twisted roads and water mains and damaged bridges, houses and shops.
Sobla village along the Dhauli Ganga river in Dharchula was wiped out, he said. Its residents had been hungry and wearing the same dress for 11 days, with nothing left and no help reaching them. Residents of Badiakot in Bageshwar district had nothing to eat. MLA Lallit Farswan announced that he would also shun food until the villagers got something to eat.
More than 200 people were stranded at Nangling and Sirkha on the Kailash Mansarovar route, and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) had been asked to give them food. Locals and trekkers were stranded at Milam, Mr. Rawat said.
Dozens of shops, houses and large tracts of farmland had been washed away between Madkot and Jauljivi. The low-level areas along the Gauri Ganga, Dhauli Ganga and Kali rivers had been devastated. Little was left of Chirkila and Khet villages. Nearly half of Goti and Balwakot had vanished.