- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 20, 2013

More than 1,000 people are dead and 62,000 still stranded after torrential monsoon rains hit northern India over the weekend, officials said Thursday.

More than 22,400 people have been rescued so far, as nearly 10,000 soldiers battle to reach villages and towns cut off by the floods in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand, The Telegraph reported.

Another 62,000 are still stranded, the Home Ministry said in a statement.

“Our priority is to take out the children and women first by helicopter,” said Ajay Chadha, chief of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police.

“We hope to rescue all the living and then start the scavenging task,” she added.

Uttarakhand is known as the “Land of the Gods,” and is where Hindu shrines and temples built high in the mountains attract many pilgrims, The Telegraph reported.

“There are some 3,000 of us stuck in Gangotri (a pilgrimage site) for the past few days and there is no food, no drinking water or assurances from the government,” a pilgrim, Parwinder Singh, told CNN-IBN by telephone.

“It is very difficult to move from here,” he added.

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