New Delhi: Sixteen people are dead as heavy rainfall battered Uttarakhand in India for a third straight day today, leaving authorities fearing for the lives of many more who may be trapped under debris and in flooded areas.
"Prime Minister and Home Minister have been briefed on the situation. Houses, bridges etc. have been damaged and 16 people have died so far. Three (Army) helicopters to be deployed for rescue operations," Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami was quoted by news agency ANI.
The Chief Minister who, with Education Minister Dhan Singh Rawat and the state's top cop, conducted an aerial survey, also told reporters damage had been done to farmers' crops and fields.
In what will come as some relief going forward, the weather department has indicated a "significant reduction in rainfall activity over Uttarakhand from today", predicting "isolated to scattered" showers.
The rains have led to scenes of chaos and disaster across the hilly state, with scary visuals emerging of roads and buildings flooded and submerged, bridges destroyed and rivers overflowing.
Picturesque Nainital was cut off after all three access roads were blocked by landslides. Roads to Kaladhungi, Haldwani and Bhawali have also been closed by debris from landslides, ANI reported.
Eleven deaths were reported today; seven people died after house collapse incidents in the Mukteshwar and Khairna areas of Nainital and one person was swept away in Udham Singh Nagar.
Five were reported Monday, including three labourers from Nepal who, according to news agency PTI, were staying near Lansdowne when they were buried alive by rubble flowing down from a field above.