INDIA, July 5, 2013 (Business Ghana): A total number of 3,068 people who went missing in floods in India's northern state Uttarakhand last month will be be presumed dead if not found by July 15, the state's chief minister said Thursday. Vijay to the news channel Bahuguna NDTV that this would enable the government to start paying compensation to the families of the victims.
Thousands of pilgrims visiting holy Hindu shrines in the Himalayan region, tourists and locals were caught in heavy monsoon rain in mid-June, which prompted devastating landslides and flash floods.
Official have put the death toll at 900. Bahuguna had earlier said the exact total may never be known. Bahuguna said many people went missing in the Kedarnath valley and bodies could still be buried. "We will only know when the debris is removed," Bahuguna said.
The meteorological department has warned of heavy showers in the region over the next few days which are expected to hamper operations to clear debris, find and cremate bodies and reach an estimated 1,200 villages which remain cut off, officials said.