Porters, ponies stranded and forgotten in Uttarakhand floods
Haridwar: Hundreds of porters and over 2,000 ponies are still untraceable in the 'Himalayan tsunami' that has wreaked havoc in this picturesque hill state, with NGOs claiming that some of them have been swept away by the flood waters or been stranded and are waiting for authorities to rescue them.
According to NGOs, some of the porters and their ponies need immediate evacuation or they would die a slow and cruel death due to starvation. "There are over 2,000 ponies stuck in Char Dham of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri, as well as Gauri Kund, Govindghat, Rudraprayag and other areas. Either their owners have abandoned them as the flood water entered the area to save themselves, or they were swept away, leaving behind the ponies," Laxman Negi, secretary of NGO Janadesh, which works for the rights of women and children and also tries to help villagers in safeguarding their livelihood, told IANS.
"These people (porters) need to be urgently evacuated. There is no road connectivity. There are no bridges and no roads. Authorities have to think of them," he added. Hundreds have been killed - some fear the toll could be in thousands - and thousands have lost everything since floods caused by torrential rains led to death and destruction nearly a fortnight ago.