Bhajan Singh Khatri
As part of a 13 member team of Sangh swayamsevaks along with Vibhag Pracharak Shri Devendra Singh we left Dehradun for Kedarnath on June 23. When we reached Mayali at night, it was raining cats and dogs. The heavy rains forced us to spend the night at Saraswati Shishu Mandir there. A relief camp organised by local people was serving food to the pilgrims prominently from Chhatisgarh, Kolkatta and Mathura. They were about 3000 in number. On June 19, we left for Kedarnath. But after a short distance we found the road blocked due to a truck, which was caught in a heap of debris from all the sides. The heavy rain had hid the light of the day. The rainy weather was full of extreme rage and the pilgrims and local people were badly frightened.
A long queue of vehicles from both sides was standing on the road, we began the difficult task of removing the heap of debris, which hindered the way of the truck. On seeing us doing it, the other people also joined and ultimately the truck was taken out of the debris. Some vehicles were made start by pushing. We again started moving towards our destination, but after covering a distance of about 10 miles, we found Panzna village, surrounded by big landslide. The landslide had destroyed many houses of the village, agricultural land was ruined and 200 meter road went deep into 50 meter.
In Upper Valley, there was great loss of human lives, while Kedar, Rambara and Sonprayag suffered hugely. We crossed the bridge and reached Chandrapuri village, where 65 families had become absolutely homeless. The people of the village succeeded in saving their lives, but they lost their entire property including houses, animals and shelter. There did not remain any connective road. These 65 families needed immediate shelter, food and medicines. There came bad smell from the banks of the river, which indicated that dead bodies could be under the sand. About 150 people of different villages had died in this area. Then we entered Narayankoti village and met people. A poor father had lost his sons. He did not have anything with him except himself. We reached Korkhi Vyung area, where great loss of human lives was caused by the natural calamity. A total of 188 people lost their lives in different villages. Schools were also damaged. Villagers suffered from lack of food items.
In Kalimath, 16 families became homeless. People did not have even clothes to wear. The Government dispensary was totally out of medicines, doctors and ANM. Nearly, 7000 people were affected in this area. There was neither the arrangement of light nor water. There was not even salt. In Ghani village, 5 people died and several were seriously sick. They were needed to be taken to any hospital, but the bridges over the rivers got fully damaged. There was no means of communication. In Badasu village, 25 persons died of 22 families. Some of them had lost their future generations. In Lambgondi village, 23 persons of 16 families had lost their lives.
In Footgarh area, 25 persons lost their lives. They belonged to different villages. In Jallchausari, 12 persons died and 27 students became orphan. In Jaalmalla village, 20 persons died and 28 students became orphan. Wherever we went, we distributed eatable things and other commodities including clothes and medicines. At some places, relief items were sent through rope. The team distributed relief items from June 23 to 30. (As told to Ravindra Saini)