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Uttarakhand: Thousands feared stranded after landslide near Badrinath route

The Indian Express logoThe Indian Express 19-05-2017

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At least 15,000 tourists are feared stranded after a landslide near Vishnuprayag on the Badrinath route, according to reports in ANI. District Collector Ashish Joshi said that BRO (Border Roads Organisation) personnel are engaged in clearing the roads and it could be opened for the traffic by the afternoon tomorrow.

He also said efforts are on to provide all facilities to 1,000-1,500 pilgrims who are at Joshimath, Karnaprayag, Pipalkoti, Govindghat and Badrinath. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Uttarakhand government told AP that state authorities have rushed food and water to the stranded pilgrims and hope to clear the debris and restore movement of vehicles this weekend.

Uttarakhand has been particularly prone to frequent landslides and floods in the past few years. Last year in July, heavy rains had triggered cloudbursts in several districts of Uttarakhand, killing at least 30 people and washing away houses. Following the flash flood, water level rose in the Nandaprayag area.

A similar incident had happened back in 2015 when around 500 pilgrims were stranded in Badrinath after a fresh landslide had blocked the road near Joshimath in Chamoli district in Gopeshwar. A landslide had occurred at the underground Vishnuprayag Hydroelectric Power House in Hathi Parbat before the Badrinath yatra commenced on April 26 but before its debris could be cleared, a fresh landslide had occurred.

The worst, however, was in 2013 when flash floods and landslides had devastated the Himalayan state that left thousands dead in its wake. This was the worst natural disaster since the Tsunami in 2004 in the country.

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