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Continued: Relatives of those missing in Indian floods maintain hope of survival

  • Article by: BISWAJEET BANERJEE , Associated Press
  • Last update: July 17, 2013 - 4:15 AM

"Work is under way at a great speed to redevelop and reconstruct the affected areas and to provide relief to those hit by the disaster," he said.

A report sent to Parliament by India's top audit body in April, said the state was badly unprepared for disasters, even though it was vulnerable to earthquakes, landslides and torrential rain.

One state body formed to deal with disasters has never met since it was formed in 2007. Another group, the State Disaster Management Authority, set no rules, regulations or policies since it was formed the same year.

A disaster management plan was still being prepared, there was no early warning system in the state, communication infrastructure was inadequate, emergency service jobs were left unfilled and medical personnel were not trained to deal with disasters, the report said.

"The state authorities were virtually nonfunctional," it said.

Nevertheless, army troops, paramilitary soldiers and volunteers rescued more than 100,000 people who had been stranded by the disaster.

The air force and private companies made thousands of helicopter sorties to pick up people stuck on rooftops or marooned on hilltops and to drop off food and drinking water.

In a rare feat, a mule stranded in a small island in the middle of the Alaknanda River, was tranquillized and airlifted by a helicopter to safety a month after being swept away in the floods, Captain Bhupinder of Sumit Aviation said. The owners of hundreds of other mules and horses staged a sit-in demanding the rescue of their injured and starving animals.

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