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4 drown, 15 missing after flash flood on way to Kedarnath

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RUDRAPRAYAG, Aug 4 (PTI): Four people died and 15 were missing after a flash flood in a rainfed waterfall swept away three shops near Daat Puliya close to Gaurikund on the way to Kedarnath, officials said on Friday.

The district administration had earlier said nine out of a total of 13 people were still missing after the recovery of four bodies but district disaster management officer Nandan Singh Rajwar later revised the figure of those missing to 15.

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Rajwar said the latest figure includes a man, his wife and daughter from Nepal who ran a dhaba at the spot and three customers, also from Nepal, who had come to the eatery for dinner.

The additional missing people include Bir Bahadur, his wife Sunita, their daughter Nisha and customers Dharmaraj and Sukhram Rawat.

Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami reached the Disaster Control room at the secretariat here to take stock of the situation. He instructed officials to speed up the ongoing relief and rescue work on the spot.

He said an alert should be issued at all the places where there is a threat of flood due to an increase in the water levels of rivers and streams and directed officials to evacuate people living in landslide-prone areas.

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Four bodies have been retrieved and the search for the missing people is underway, Rudraprayag District Magistrate Saurabh Gaharwar told reporters.

A family of ‘dandi-kandi’ (palanquin) operators from Nepal who ferry pilgrims to the Himalayan temple was among those who are missing.

The shops, located on the banks of a raging Mandakini river, were swept away by the floodwaters coming from above. The flash flood occurred on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday following heavy rains, they said.

Gaurikund is about 16 km from the Himalayan temple.

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Relief and rescue operations were launched by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel, Circle Officer Vimal Rawat told PTI from the spot.

Heavy rains coupled with boulders falling intermittently from the hillsides are hampering relief and rescue efforts, the officials said.

Earlier, the administration released a list of people who had gone missing and it included those who have died in the incident.

Those missing were identified as Vinod (26), Mulayam (25), Ashu (23), Priyanshu Chamola (18), Ranbir Singh (28), Amar Bohra, his wife Anita Bohra, their daughters, Radhika and Pinki Bohra, and sons Prithvi Bohra (7), Jatil (6) and Vakil (3), officials said.

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