The early monsoons have brought misery in the life of the people in Uttrakhand, which has been severely affected by floods and landslides following the torrential rainfall in the region since mid-June. The current death toll is raised more than 1000 people with at least 4000 people still stranded.
Bridges and roads have been washed away, but a Caritas India team has been able to reach those hit by the floods. An early Caritas assessment of 17 villages shows nearly 40 percent of the homes have either been partially or fully destroyed by the landslides.
Landslides damaged drinking water sources, like springs in all villages. The communities were either forced to drink stream water or travel long distances to collect water from other springs in the hills. Villages have seen their crops and pasture washed away. In three districts covering four villages, more than 1200 livestock have been lost in landslides.
Caritas India is getting volunteers to help local communities clean the mud. Caritas India team in Uttarakhand has gone down the hills to the city for fresh procurement of relief materials. Meanwhile, Caritas staff remain busy in visiting new villages to take stock of affected families for necessary support and relief.
The floods have hit pilgrimage centres in the region, which are visited by tens of thousands of devotees at this time of year. There was a huge reservoir situated above Kedarnath temple, which burst on 17 June and released a huge volume of water. There was also heavy rain in the same area. Both together caused a huge flow of water and release of silt, which filled the temple and complex of Kedernath and the surrounding places burying thousands of pilgrims and local people.