Severe floods in northern India have already claimed nearly 600 lives and the figures are expected to rise despite the waters beginning to fall.
Around 50,000 people remain stranded in Uttarakhand, which has sustained heavy infrastructural damage and seen whole communities washed away.
The past five days have seen early monsoon rains catch everyone by surprise. Northern India is a popular tourist destination and also provides respite from the heat of the plains for locals. People normally leave the area, on the edge of the Himalayas, in early July just before the rains arrive. This year’s sudden downpour meant tens of thousands were trapped as bridges and roads were washed away.
Around 10,000 troops have been mobilised for the rescue and aid effort, and they are concentrating on evacuating survivors.
Only a 24-hour window of better weather is available for the evacuation. After that bad weather is expected to return.