Nation prays for Uttarakhand flood-hit victims

Last Updated: Fri, Jun 21, 2013 13:50 hrs

People from all walks of life and age groups across India gathered on Friday to offer prayers for victims of the devastating floods that have ravaged Uttarakhand.

School students in Patna, Bihar, held condolence meetings and lit candles in memory of those who have lost their lives in the floods and landslides over the past one week.

They also prayed for the stranded victims.

Reportedly, more than 60,000 people are stranded in parts of the hilly province of Uttarakhand and they are waiting for rescue teams to reach them with all possible aid.

Thousands of people are still stuck in the temple town of Kedarnath, located in the upper reaches of Himalayas.

Thousands of houses have been swept away in the flash floods and authorities are using helicopters to evacuate people and drop essential food supplies.

"We are praying here because of the large scale floods that have devastated Uttarakhand. Hundreds of people have been killed in it. We prayed so that departed souls rest in peace," said Vanya, a school student at Patna.

Likewise, students gathered in large numbers at their respective schools in Jammu city.

They held a candlelight prayer meet despite the schools being closed for the summer vacations.

The children sang devotional hymns for the people affected by the floods.

"We have gathered at our school in spite of our vacation holidays. We are praying for the people who have died in Uttarakhand and we want that the people who are still stranded reach safer places as soon as possible," said Jasmine Kaur, a young school student in Jammu.

Prayers were also held by residents of Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh, at a local Gurudwara.

They participated in special session of prayers for the victims of the floods.

"All of us are praying here for the safety of the stranded tourists there and may God make them reach their homes in safety. And may God bless the souls of all the victims who have perished in the flood waters there," said Gyani Devinder Singh, a Sikh devotee of Lucknow.

The states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have witnessed torrential rains at least thrice as heavy as usual since last week when the annual monsoon broke a fortnight ahead of schedule.

Early monsoon rains have swollen the River Ganga, India's longest river and also its mega tributary, River Yamuna causing death and destruction along their banks in the Himalayan region.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a 10-billion-rupee aid package for the state after he and ruling Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi did an aerial survey of the flood-hit region.

For India's farmland, however, above average early rains help moisten the soil, enabling better preparation for seeds and early planting.

The June to September monsoon is crucial for the 55 percent of India's farmland without irrigation. (ANI)

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