Himalayan tsunami: Of cheers, and tears

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 Himalayan tsunami: Of cheers, and tears

Although Maharashtra has sent teams to Uttarakhand to coordinate rescue operation, families of those stranded are leaving no stones unturned to trace their loved ones in the flood-ravaged state

For a moment, Chinchwad resident Nitin Gurav choked with emotion. After a nail-biting five-day wait and much uncertainty over the fate of his parents, he finally received a call from his parents – Jayshree and Jayant – from Dehra Dun.
As Nitin’s tears flowed through shut eyes, he could hear hysterical sobs at the end of the line. His parents had been separated from the group of 70 with whom they had been travelling.
“While on an organised tour from Pune, they had stopped for a bit as my mother wanted to put on socks. By the time they resumed and tried to catch up with the group, they were told that there was a landslide and the road ahead was closed down,” said Nitin.
For four days, they were stranded at Rampada near Kedarnath without food or water until they were airlifted by the army. The couple is now headed to Delhi.
The 68 members are still stranded at a camp at Gaurikhund.
Similarly, Kalyan resident Dattaray Gaikwad, 43, reached Haridwar after a three-day trip from Sonprayag much of which was done on foot. “I saw a lodge opposite ours crumble. We ran out of our lodge towards a mountain to save our lives,” said Gaikwad.
A day later, when he returned to where the lodges stood, Gaikwad saw bodies strewn around. “For two days, we survived on tea and biscuits,” he said.
From Haridwar to Dehra Dun, the roads are choc-a-bloc with traffic and shops are shut and devastation all around, said Pune resident Amol Patil. “Sanitation facilities are a nightmare. And we haven’t bathed for the last few days,” said Patil.

An unforgettable adventure
Meanwhile, a clique of 14 adventure enthusiasts from Pune got back home safe and sound on Wednesday. They had to sidestep mounds of debris, trudge 30km a day in hilly, muddy terrain and form a human chain to cross the rough Pindhari river. The group, comprising largely of students, has now reached Delhi.
Pathologist Sangeeta Kohli, who had joined the group with her son Akkash and daughter Divyaa, said they witnessed many landslides and tree-falls on Monday and Tuesday.