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India floods: Death toll rises, efforts to rescue thousands intensify

The Indian army is trying to rescue more than 40,000 people who are stranded.

India floodingEnlarge
A mahout moves an elephant to higher ground as villagers paddle with their belongings through flood waters in the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, some 55 kms from Guwahati, the capital city of the north-eastern state of Assam on June 28, 2012. (STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

The Indian army is flying helicopters into the mountainous Uttarakhand state, part of its ramped-up effort to save the tens of thousands of people trapped by flooding. The Indian government is also deploying trains to affected areas, BBC News reported. But the effort may not be enough to save the approximately 40,000 people believed to be stranded.

Home Minister Shushil Shinde admitted that there is a "lack of coordination amongst agencies involved in relief operations." 

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The devastating floods have left at least 609 people dead in what is being dubbed the "Himalayan tsunami." 

Relief teams have been "racing against time" today, Agence France-Presse reported, recovering bodies and trying to save people.

The air force has dropped food and medicine in 100 towns and villages, mostly those in the Uttarakhand state.  The Uttarakhand state chief minister Vijay Bahuguna told CNN-IBN that he saw hundreds of bodies buried deep in the mud. 

Soldiers today also spotted 1,000 pilgrims trapped close to the Kedarnath shrine. They had been taking shelter there since monsoon rains triggered the devastating floods last week.

 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/india/130622/india-floods-death-toll-rises-efforts-rescue-thousan