Heavy rains lashed Uttarakhand for the third consecutive day today, killing 16 people, leaving officials fearing that many more lives may be trapped under the rubble and in flooded areas. Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said, “The Prime Minister and the Home Minister have been apprised of the situation. Houses, bridges etc. have been damaged and so far 16 people have died. Three (Army) helicopters will be deployed for rescue operations.” However, Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar said that “24-25 people have died due to incessant rains”.

The chief minister, who conducted the aerial survey along with education minister Dhan Singh Rawat and Mr Kumar, also told reporters that farmers’ crops and fields had been damaged. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to Mr Dhami to take stock of the situation. With some respite in the times to come, the Meteorological Department has predicted “Isolated to scattered” rain, indicating “significant reduction in rain activity in Uttarakhand from today”.

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The rains have triggered scenes of chaos and disaster across the hill state, with roads and buildings flooded and submerged, bridges destroyed and rivers overflowing. The connectivity to picturesque Nainital was lost after landslides blocked all three access roads. Roads to Kaladhungi, Haldwani and Bhawali have also been closed due to debris from the landslide.

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