Amarnath cloudburst: Death toll rises to 16; 15,000 stranded pilgrims evacuated
Amarnath yatra has been temporarily halted. According to an Army official, mountain rescue teams and lookout patrols were looking for missing people.
As per reports, nearly 16 people were killed in a flash flood caused by a cloudburst in Jammu and Kashmir's Ganderbal district on Saturday. The victims were camping near the Amarnath cave shrine when the cloudburst struck around 6 pm on Friday. A portion of the camp was washed away by the flash flood.
Rescue operations are currently underway. At least 15,000 pilgrims who were stranded near the Amarnath holy cave have been relocated to Panjtarni's lower base camp, and "no yatri is left on the track," according to an Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) spokesperson quoted by PTI.
The Amarnath yatra has been temporarily halted. Following reports, ITBP PRO Vivek Kumar Pandey informed that nearly 30-40 people are still missing.
On Saturday, following PTI, an official said that the air rescue operations began this morning by evacuating six pilgrims. Military medical teams receive patients and casualties at the Nilagrar helipad for further evacuation.
According to an Army official, mountain rescue teams and lookout patrols were looking for missing people.
Per a Border Security Force (BSF) spokesperson, the paramilitary force's doctors and medical staff treated nine critically injured patients in the floods. He said they've been rescued and taken to the lower altitude Neelgrath base camp.
According to PTI, a small BSF team is stationed at the Neelgrath helipad to assist pilgrims returning from the holy cave. According to a BSF spokesperson, approximately 150 yatris stayed at the BSF camp set up in Panjtarni on Friday night, and 15 patients were airlifted to Baltal on Saturday morning.
On Friday, officials estimated that at least 25 tents were hit. According to PTI, three community kitchens where pilgrims were served food were also hit in addition to the tents.
J&K Police, NDRF, and security forces are conducting rescue operations, according to IGP (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over losing life and promised: "all possible assistance" to those affected. Modi stated that he spoke with J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and "took stock of the situation." "Rescue and relief operations are underway," he tweeted.
According to Sinha, rescue teams have been dispatched to the scene, and orders have been issued to provide "all necessary assistance to the pilgrims." He stated that Prime Minister Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have "assured all assistance."