The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 06/24/2013 3:37 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 06/24/2013 5:06 AM
JOSHIMATH, India - Soldiers recovered more bodies as they cleared debris in villages flattened by landslides and monsoon floods in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, bringing the death toll from torrential rains above 1,000, the home minister said Monday.
Army officials suspended rescue operations after bad weather early Monday reduced visibility in the mountainous area. Army troops are attempting to rescue more than 10,000 stranded people, many in the temple town of Badrinath.
Two landslides early Monday blocked roads that had been cleared by soldiers only a few days earlier.
"We are just waiting for the weather to clear up and visibility to improve before the aircraft can take off," said R.S. Brar, an air force official in Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand.
Meteorological officials predicted more heavy rain in Uttarakhand over the next few days.
Home Minister Sushikumar Shinde told reporters that the death toll will exceed the figure of 1,000 given Sunday by the Uttarakhand government. More bodies were being found as troops and disaster rescue teams cleared debris from buildings and houses destroyed by flood waters, Shinde said.
The unprecedented heavy rains triggered landslides and floods in the Ganges River last week, washing away thousands of houses and roads and cutting communication links in large areas of Uttarakhand.
Uttarakhand is a popular summer vacation destination for tourists seeking to escape the torrid heat of the plains. It is also a religious pilgrimage site with four temple towns in the Garhwal Himalayan range. Most of the people stranded in Uttarakhand are Hindu pilgrims at the four revered shrines.
The tourists usually return before monsoon rains begin in July. But this year, early rains caught hundreds of thousands of tourists, pilgrims and local residents by surprise.
Twenty other people died from monsoon floods in Uttar Pradesh state. Across the border in Nepal, the home ministry said at least 39 people died and 20 others were missing in landslides and monsoon flooding.
Flooding is an annual occurrence in India, which depends on monsoon rains to sustain agriculture. But the heavy downpours also cause extensive loss of lives and property.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
More than 300 drivers caught speeding in school zones
Bombers trade Suber for Argos defensive lineman
Canada-NATO search for spending compromise
Dumoulin dominates Tour of Alberta prologue
Former Bombers QB Max Hall arrested
Harper on Sotloff: 'barbaric, unacceptable'
Deadly drunk driver wants sentence reduced
Jets sign first-round draft pick
Public school strike in B.C. derails school year
Man dies after vehicle rolls into water-filled ditch
In light of celebrity hacks, how to protect data
Wasylycia-Leis unveils four key pledges, but not all details
Havixbeck would phase out malathion for biodegradable pesticide
Sanders promises to 'turn over all the rocks at city hall,' engage citizens
Lawyer says family of girl with Uzi is devastated
Alleged pool peeper deemed mentally fit
Steeves takes aim at Wasylycia-Leis
Bowman pledges to finish rapid transit if elected
Celeb hacking scandal shows digital vulnerability
Ukrainian troops routed as Russia talks tough
Video purports to show beheading of US journalist
US strike targets leader of Somali extremist group
Public to get look at six options for Lake Manitoba outlet
Rehearsals begin for Rob Ford musical
Rockin' CEO to speak/play at news cafe
Sex assault on teen earns handyman 3 1/2 year sentence
Larry David play heads to Broadway this February
Bieber charged with assault in ATV crash
Bombers adding three board members
Accused in Halifax beating death fires lawyer
Police looking for two missing girls
Toronto-area cyclist killed near Brandon
The Forks ushers in new era
Weather forecast holds a mixed bag for back-to-school students
Two teens arrested after truck stolen
32 teens escape from Nashville detention centre
Detroit's historic bankruptcy trial begins
CUCM CEO announces retirement
Take Duffy case to independent office: NDP
Dallas Smith to play Club Regent Jan. 31