Death toll climbs to 52 in Uttarakhand as heavy rainfall batters parts of UP, West Bengal

Death toll climbs to 52 in Uttarakhand as heavy rainfall batters parts of UP, West Bengal

Six more bodies were recovered on Wednesday in rain-battered Uttarakhand, taking the death toll to 52 in the Himalayan state, while Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, and areas of north Bengal were also pounded by torrential rainfall that caused landslides and closed National Highway-10, the main road linking Gangtok with the rest of the country.Three people were killed and hundreds marooned as heavy rains lashed Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly and Pilibhit districts over the last two days.In Uttarakhand, 17 people were injured and 16, including 11 members of a trekking team, went missing in rain-related incidents. The Kumaon region of the state, which has been worst affected by the rainfall, also reported cases of 46 houses being damaged.With 28 deaths, Nainital alone has accounted for the highest number of fatalitiesChief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami extended his tour of the affected areas of Udham Singh Nagar and Champawat districts in Kumaon to take stock of the situation. He travelled by road as his helicopter could not take off from Haldwani due to technical reasons.Accompanied by Union Minister of State for Defence and Nainital MP Ajay Bhatt and State Disaster Management Minister Dhan Singh Rawat, Dhami, on board a tractor, crossed vast stretches of marooned fields in Udham Singh Nagar district and assessed the damage to crops. He also trudged through the streets of Champawat to get a first-hand assessment of the damage inflicted by nearly three days of incessant rains.Home Minister Amit Shah is also likely to arrive in the state late on Wednesday night to review the situation. He may also undertake an aerial survey of the affected areas on Thursday morning, officials said.The weather cleared across Uttarakhand on Wednesday, giving momentum to rescue operations and leading to the partial resumption of the Chardham Yatra, with pilgrims allowed to proceed to Kedarnath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri.However, the yatra to Badrinath could not be resumed as the national highway leading to the temple was blocked by landslide at several points.Meanwhile, eight trekkers and three cooks accompanying them on a trek to Chitkul in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh went missing. The team of eleven people was on a trek to Chitkul via Harsil in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. An SDRF team is preparing to trace them in a helicopter and rescue them.There was another report of three porters going missing along the Indo-China border in Uttarkashi district. They had accompanied an ITBP team on a long-distance patrol. They apparently lost their way, while returning, and got separated from the team.Water has receded completely from the streets of Nainital, which was cut off from the rest of the state on Monday, with the Naini lake flooding the roads and landslides choking them at various points. Life returned to normal in Nainital on Wednesday morning as tourists were found shopping and taxis plying through the town.Electricity and telephone connectivity which had been badly hit in Nainital by incessant rains has been restored.Villages on the outskirts of the town are still going without electricity and telephone connectivity. Haldwani and Kaladhungi roads have been opened partially to traffic restoring connectivity to Nainital.The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said it has rescued over 1,300 people from flood-affected areas of Uttarakhand. The federal force has deployed 17 rescue teams in the state.Torrential rains pounded the tiny Himalayan state of Sikkim and the tea growing region of North Bengal, causing landslides which cut off National Highway-10.Normal life in parts of north Bengal was affected due to heavy showers in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Jalpaiguri districts that triggered landslides, causing damages to roads and bridges, halting or constricting traffic in various places

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