In the recent flash floods and landslides in Uttrakhand State, northern part of India, around 1,000 people were confirmed dead and thousands of people, mostly locals, tourists and pilgrims remained stranded in the mountains.
Due to the massive damage on roads and other infrastructures, the India government declared it a national disaster.
When floods and landslides began on 17th June 2013, the Bharat Scouts & Guides was conducting two national trekking events from 12th to 21st June in Badrinath/Hemkund and Yamnetri where around 120 Rovers/Rangers and staff participated.
While training was going on, both camps were hit by flash floods but campers managed to bring themselves to safely. The first group escaped the flash flood at GovindGhat and reached a safe destination after trekking 23 kilometers, battling several land slides, strong winds and heavy rains.
The second group was stranded at ‘Shyana Chatti” and faced land slide, heavy rains and soil erosion before reaching Jamnotri, their final destination.
After making sure that everybody was safe, both groups decided to help in rescue and relief work in their respective locations. Rovers and rangers set up relief camps, and took the lead in the distribution of food and other relief materials, helping in kitchen work, caring for patients, assisting in announcement booths, among others.
Reinforcing the service of Scouts, local Scouts and Guides in Uttrakhands also joined and assisted the rescue team.
-- S.S.Ray, APR Honorary Correspondent, India