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Bad weather halts rescue in flood-hit N. India

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-06-23 15:59

NEW DELHI - Indian authorities Sunday said that rescue operations have been halted in the flood-hit northern Indian state of Uttarakhand due to bad weather, even though more than 22,000 people are still stranded in various places.

"Helicopters, pilots, food packages everything is ready, but we can't fly because of bad weather. We may get a window of opportunity for an hour or two to fly, will try to save as many as possible," Wing Commander RC Pathak of the Indian Air Force told the media.

The Indian Air Force and the Indian Army have been operating over 50 choppers across Uttarakhand to rescue thousands of people, mostly Hindu pilgrims, stranded in the difficult terrains of the hilly state which was hit by monsoon floods last Sunday. Nearly 75,000 people have so far been evacuated from the state till rains hampered rescue operations this morning.

Meanwhile, the Indian Army has appealed to the stranded people not to panic, saying that the rescue operations have been continuing on war footing.

"The Army operations have not been suspended. At Jungle Chatti, air operations were suspended due to weather. But, ground relief is on from Jangal Chatti to Gaurikund," Brigadier Uma Maheshwar of the Indian Army's Central Command said.

The official added, "Some 700 people stranded between Hanuman Chatti and Jungle Chatti have been located. We will try to establish contact with them by afternoon. Nearly 2,000 people are also waiting for evacuation in Harshil."

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