Bad weather and heavy rains on Monday hit rescue operations of the Army and the Air Force in Uttarakhand, resulting in reduced number of helicopter sorties by the two forces to rescue over 6,000 persons stranded in the flood-ravaged Himalayan state.
In the national capital, Defence Minister A K Antony held a review meeting on the continuing rescue and relief work in the state, when he directed the Armed Forces to continue the efforts till the last survivor of the natural calamity was brought to safety.
Braving the inclement weather, the Army could deploy only two of its 13 helicopters and these machines and its men continued to fly, though the number of sorties were far less than in the last one week, military officers said here. “Evacuation of people by land route from Badrinath to Joshimath and from Harsil to Uttarkashi as a contingency plan continued. Army teams carried out extensive reconnaissance and identified segments of road affected by landslides and develop crossing capability,” they explained.
Based on necessity, the Army planned to evacuate pilgrims by road and coordinate their arrival in camps, apart from continuing the search, rescue and relief operations despite bad weather conditions.
In Badrinath Sector, the Army rescued 281 people by the land route on Sunday night after the construction of Burma bridge across the Alaknanda at Lam Bagar on Joshimath-Badrinath road. On Monday, the Army created ‘Heli-bridge’ at Lam Bagar in addition to the foot bridge. The Heli-shuttle service continued throughout the day.
Two Army Helicopters and three civil helicopter ferried people from Badrinath, while 800 people moved towards Joshimath.