India Floods: 5,700 Missing 'Presumed Dead'
    2013-07-15 22:10:21     Xinhua       Web Editor: Jiang Aitao

Indian army personnel help a survivor to cross a damaged mountain road after recent devastating flash flood and torrential rains near Pindari Glacier in the state of Uttarakhand, India, June 27, 2013. [File Photo: Xinhua/Stringer]

Indian authorities said on Monday that the more than 5,700 people who remained missing in the flood-hit northern state of Uttarakhand will be assumed dead.

"Over 5,700 people still missing from 18 states will now be presumed dead so that their families can be given five lakh (10, 000 U.S. dollars) compensation. But we will not give any death certificates. The search for the missing will continue," Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna told the media in state capital Dehradun.

He added: "The government should mount one last rescue effort and see -- may be people are still stuck in the far reaches of the hills, waiting to be rescued."

So far, more than 120,000 people have been evacuated from the difficult terrains of the hilly state by the Indian army and air force.

Monsoon floods swept away Uttarakhand on June 16, killing thousands and washing away towns and roads. However, authorities have admitted that the exact number of deaths may never be known as many bodies may have been washed away or remain buried under debris.

The state, popular among Hindu pilgrims for its holy shrines and rivers, has experienced the heaviest rainfall in the last 60 years.

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