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Rescuers make final push in Uttarakhand

An Indian security official gestures to clear the road in front of portraits of missing pilgrims pasted on the gates of the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, state capital of Uttarakhand, on June 26, 2013. Around 1,000 people have been killed in flash floods and landslides in northern India, as a top official warned June 24 that rebuilding of the devastated Himalayan region would take years. AFP PHOTO/MANAN VATSYAYANA

Kedarnath turns into a ghost town

Monsoon’s fury gushed into Kedarnath town from the summit behind the famous temple, carrying rocks and boulders, destroying everything on its path. Three days of incessant rain washed down a whole state and turned a holy pilgrimage centre into nothing short of a ghost town.

When clouds burst over the sacred mountains,

even gods could not protect them. In the elemental fury of water and falling

hills, the dead multiplied on ravaged terrains and the living struggled in vain

to reach the far shores of survival. In one of its worst monsoons, the state of

Uttarakhand became a watery graveyard for hundreds and a monumental reminder of

how nature's rage can be compounded by man's callousness. The day after on

Ground Zero said it all.

Rotting corpses contaminating water sources and poor sanitation could lead to a serious outbreak of diseases such as cholera and dysentery. With many bodies still buried under 5-10 feet high mounds of debris in the Kedarnath Valley area, the threat of an epidemic due to decaying corpses looms large.

The floods and landslides have been dubbed a "Himalayan tsunami" due to the torrents of water unleashed in the hilly region, which sent mud crashing down, burying homes and other buildings.