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5,700 presumed dead in June floods in India

on July 16, 2013 10:00 AM

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — More than 5,700 people missing since last month’s devastating floods that ravaged northern India are now presumed dead, a top official said today.

Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said today that the Uttarakhand state government would give financial compensation to the families of people who may have perished in the floods and landslides that hit the Himalayan region in June.

The government had earlier put the death toll at 600 but repeatedly stressed that it would be significantly higher.

Bahuguna said recovery operations would continue, adding the exact number of people who died may never be known.

“The search operations will continue (until) the family members of the missing are satisfied,” Bahuguna told a group of survivors today as the state government began handing out compensation checks to the families of the dead.

The Uttarakhand government has announced that it will pay compensation of $8,350 to the families of each victim.

Hundreds of thousands of Hindus visit Uttarakhand’s temple towns during the summer.

The state is also a popular holiday destination and droves of Indians head to the cooler hills to escape the summer heat.

Visitors usually leave before July, when monsoon rains make the mountainous roads much more treacherous, but this year unprecedented heavy rains fell around mid-June.

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