"An entire road on which our vehicle was travelling caved in due to pressure of the gushing flood waters," recounts a woman tourist from the city who survived the Uttarakhand deluge.
About 35 tourists from the city stranded in the aftermath of the Uttarakhand disaster returned safely recalling the terrible cloudburst that turned their pilgrimage to Kedarnath into a nightmare but around 200 tourists from the city and surrounding areas are still stranded in that state. A woman tourist who was part of an all women group that went on a pilgrimage to Uttarakhand said, "We are back from jaws of death. An entire road on which our vehicle was travelling caved in due to pressure of the gushing flood waters."
The group which landed here safely on Thursday by a plane, had been caught in the cloudburst and resultant nature's fury on its return journey after "darshan" of Kedarnath, that witnessed non-stop downpour, landslides and flash floods.
They were left stranded for two days in Chamoli district where there was no electricity. "The locals extended all help and when the weather partially improved we managed to hire a cab to reach Delhi and catch a flight to Pune," said a group member, reliving memories of the unprecedented devastation they saw during their stretch through the deluge ravaged state.
A travel agency employee, citing telephonic messages received from tour operators said the situation in Kedarnath was still grim despite the relief and rescue work undertaken by helicopters. District officials at the disaster management cell said the list of tourists from Pune and adjoining areas was being updated but it was proving to be a difficult task as they comprised of private groups and those travelling with various travel companies.
Among the anxious relatives in the city, the mother of an 18-year-old city student --Prerna-- received the much awaited good news about her daughter's whereabouts.
Prerna, who had gone to Uttarkashi for an adventure course in mountaineering which finished on June 15, had been caught in heavy rains and road blocks. She finally managed to reach Rishikesh by a shared taxi and was now waiting for her father to pick her up on way back home.