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The 43-day Amarnath yatra began after a gap of three years on June 30.New Delhi:
About 15,000 pilgrims have been moved to safety from near the holy cave shrine of Amarnath after a flash flood triggered by a cloudburst swept away scores of people, killing at least 15. More than 40 people are still missing, officials said. Here are the top 10 updates on this big story:The Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, or ITBP, continued the rescue operation throughout the night as they looked for missing persons in the cloudburst-affected area at the lower Amarnath Cave site. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has three teams comprising about 75 rescuers, an official said.ITBP troops are also providing first aid to those injured at Sangam Top. These pilgrims have been diverted from holy cave to panchtarni after flash flood near the holy cave.Pilgrims who were safely evacuated from the affected areas have narrated harrowing accounts of the floods triggered by the cloudburst swamping tents and community kitchens with mud and large rocks. Some of the pandals that were two kilometres away from the cloudburst site were also affected, pilgrims said.”Within 10 minutes of the cloudburst, eight casualties were reported. The water carried a large number of stones with it. There were approximately 15,000 pilgrims who came for the pilgrims. The pilgrims continued to come despite heavy rains,” a pilgrim said.Deepak Chouhan, a pilgrim from Uttar Pradesh’s Hardoi told ANI, “A stampede-like situation happened there, but Army supported a lot. Many pandals were washed away due to the water.””Situation is under control, rains are still going on. Looking at the hazard level, the Amarnath Yatra has been halted temporarily due to the area being inundated,” said ITBP spokesperson PRO Vivek Kumar Pandey.The cloudburst, which was reported at around 5:30 pm, triggered flash floods that hit the base camp outside the shrine, damaging 25 tents and three community kitchens where the pilgrims are served food, according to officials. The area received 31 mm rainfall from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm, according to the automatic weather station at the holy cave.President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expressed anguish over the loss of lives in the cloudburst. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, meanwhile, has directed the central forces and Jammu and Kashmir administration to ensure swift rescue and relief. The Jammu and Kashmir administration has set up four helpline numbers where people can get information about the incident.The 43-day Amarnath yatra began after a gap of three years on June 30. In 2019, the yatra was cancelled midway ahead of the Centre abrogating Article 370 provisions of the Constitution. The pilgrimage did not take place in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid pandemic.

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