Death toll in Indian monsoon flooding nears 600

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 21, 2013 at 9:39 am •  Published: June 21, 2013
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Thousands of soldiers continued efforts to reach the worst-hit towns and villages, Chandola said.

Thirty-six air force helicopters have been ferrying rescue workers, doctors, equipment, food and medicine to Kedarnath, the town closest to many of those stranded, said Priya Joshi, an air force spokeswoman. Another seven aircraft carried paratroopers and fuel to the region.

Hundreds of people looking for relatives demonstrated in Dehradun, the Uttrakhand state capital, where flood survivors were taken by helicopters. They complained that the government was taking too long to evacuate the survivors, with small helicopters bringing in four to five people at a time.

Jasveer Kaur, a 50-year-old housewife, said she and her family survived by taking shelter in a Sikh shrine, which withstood the flood, located in Govind Dham.

"There was destruction all around," said Kaur after she was evacuated by an air force helicopter. "It was a nightmare."

Google has launched an application, Person Finder, to help trace missing people in Uttarakhand. The version is available in both Hindi and English languages, according to a Google India blog.

The annual monsoon rains sustain India's agriculture but also cause flooding that claims lives and damages property. Neighboring Uttar Pradesh state said 17 flood-related deaths occurred there since the heavy rains Sunday.