Thousands stranded in parts of northern India awaited rescuers on Wednesday as floods caused by heavier-than-usual monsoon rains killed at least 150 people in worst-hit Uttarakhand.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a 10-billion-rupee aid package for the state after he and Congress president Sonia Gandhi did an aerial survey of the flood-hit region.
“The government will not spare any effort in rescue and relief operations,” Singh said on his official Twitter account, adding the large-scale devastation they witnessed was “most distressing”.
“The priority for the authorities at the moment is to rescue the stranded and provide urgently needed succour to those most in need of it,” he said.
(Read full text of the prime minister’s statement here)
This year, the rains are at least twice as heavy in northwest and central India as the annual monsoon rains covered the whole country faster than usual.