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New Delhi : Union Home Minister Amit Shah, along with the Governor of Uttarakhand, Lt Gen Gurmeet Singh, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, Disaster Management Minister of Uttarakhand D S Rawat, and MP Anil Baluni ,made an aerial survey of rain, flood, and landslide affected areas of Devprayag, Ramnagar, Ramgarh, Gaulapar, and Rudrapur, and took stock of the damage caused by the natural calamity. After the aerial survey, the Union Home Minister reviewed the latest situation at a meeting with officials of the Central and the State Governments.

Shah said that timely warnings by the Central Government helped in minimising the loss of lives. He said that after the Central government issued a warning 24 hours in advance on October 16, 2021, a great amount of damage could be prevented due to the alerts by the State Government and local administration to SDRF, NDRF, ITBP, Army, Air Force etc. Advance alerts were sent to all mobile consumers on their mobile phones so that unnecessary movement could be avoided. The pilgrims of Char Dham were also stopped where they were, before rains started and due to this there is no news of any casualty of any of the pilgrims of Char Dham and the yatra has now been started. NDRF, Army, ITBP, SDRF, State Response Teams, and  Fire Brigade, were on the spot as they were on alert before the rains started. Helicopters were also available and they were also alerted before the rains, Shah added.

The Home Minister said that PM Narendra Modi had also informed everyone about the mobilisation of the Army and the NDRF. Coordination between the Central Water Commission and Irrigation Department was very good, due to which it was easy to manage the water level. He said that except three roads, traffic movement has started on most of the roads and relief has also started arriving wherever needed. Nainital, Haldwani, and Almora roads have also been opened to traffic. Railway tracks have suffered heavy damage at one place and repair work has begun. More than 60 percent electricity supply has been restored, people have started receiving pure drinking water and health facilities have not been disrupted, Shah said.

Shah said that the State Government carried out the rescue operation in a very good manner. About 80 percent of the telephone network has been restored. More than 3,500 people were rescued and more than 16,000 persons have been evacuated to safer places as a precaution, and there are no reports of loss of life of any tourist so far. Seventeen teams of the NDRF and 60 teams of the SDRF, 15 companies of the PAC and more than 5,000 police and fire brigade personnel are still engaged in the entire operation and helping people, he said. Health facilities and food arrangements have been made in relief camps by the state government and the situation will return to normal very soon.

Shah said that in this hour of crisis, from the very first day, PM Modi has spoken to the Chief Minister of the state many times and the Government of India has put in all its strength in helping this Devbhoomi. As soon as the situation becomes normal in a couple of days, survey teams of the Ministry of Home Affairs will make a visit here to take stock of the damage and accordingly help will also be provided. Shah said that since Uttarakhand is prone to natural calamities, therefore, an amount of Rs 250 crore had been issued by the Center to the state a few months ago by the Disaster Management Department, due to which relief work has been started here. He said that the Central Government has already released an assistance of Rs 749.60 crore as the Central share under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), according to a PIB release.

Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Pushkar Singh Dhami thanked the Central Government for deploying well equipped 17 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), three helicopters of the Indian Air Force, and adequate resources of the Army and other Central agencies, at short notice, for assisting the state administration in search and rescue operations and distribution of relief material to affected persons.