16 killed in Amarnath cloudburst, 40 still missing

Wednesday 13th July 2022 07:32 EDT

Sixteen pilgrims were killed in flash floods set off by the sudden rain at the Himalayan cave shrine of Amarnath and rescue team feared that the dead count might go to up as about 40 missing people were still unaccounted, some trapped under huge pile of mud and rocks.

Rescue teams, police, local volunteers and military units were removing debris day and night and were searching for missing people. Two pilgrims were pulled out alive and airlifted to Srinagar, 92 km away, for treatment. Atul Karwal, NDRF director general said, “there are 16 confirmed deaths. No fresh landslide has occurred, but it’s raining. The rain has not hampered our rescue efforts. Four NDRF teams with over 100 rescuers are on the job. Army, BSF, SDRF, CRPF and others are also engaged in the operation. ” Officials said, around 15,000 people were in the mountains when the rain struck. They were evacuated to the lower base camp of Panjtarni. Helicopters were used for rescue efforts and airlifting the injured to hospitals.

PM Modi led the nation in condoling the deaths. He tweeted, “Anguished by the cloudburst near Shree Amarnath cave. Condolences to the bereaved families. Rescue and relief operations are underway. All possible assistance is being provided to the affected”.

Baldev Thakor, an Ahmedabad based tour operator who took a group of 40 pilgrims to Amarnath said his group was at the Baltal Base Camp. We were supposed to leave for the Amarnath cave on Saturday. Although, we got the message about the cloudburst and were told that the yatra had been put on hold, we will wait here and complete the yatra when it resumes.”

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