New Delhi, June 23: Over 4,500 people were rescued on Sunday from several areas of the flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) said here.
"A total of 4,613 pilgrims and tourists were rescued till 3 p.m. today. All of them have been brought to Joshimath," said ITBP spokesman Deepak Kumar Pandey at a media briefing.
The force rescued over 2,500 people from Badrinath on Sunday morning.
"Nearly 500 people are stranded still in Jungle Chatti. We are carrying out aerial surveillance to rescue them," Pandey said, adding that 6,000 more would be evacuated by Sunday evening.
With Sunday's evacuation, the ITBP has rescued close to 24,000 people from the hills of Uttarakhand, where hundreds have died in cloudbursts and savage floods.
The ITBP has also built a road from Badrinath to Hanuman Chatti to speed up rescue operations.
"Earlier, we had to bring people from Badrinath till Hanuman Chatti by foot. Now the road has been built and we are bringing them by vehicles," Pandey said.
He said that bodies were being found in hills and jungles five to 10 km away from the Kedarnath shrine.
"As the flood came, several people ran towards the hills but must have got lost in the woods with no sense of direction... with no food and water, they died," said Pandey.
The government says 557 bodies have been found and some 20,000 people were still awaiting evacuation. Some officials and rescuers have said the fatalities may run into hundreds, if not thousands.