Amaravati: Around two pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh were reported missing in the cloudburst and flash flood near the holy Amarnath cave in Kashmir. Many tents with pilgrims resting inside were washed away. According to the helpline center at AP Bhavan, New Delhi, they are yet to trace two pilgrims. Sources say of the total pilgrims at least 30% are from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Reports say, all the pilgrims from YSR, Tadepalligudem in West Godavari, Tirupati, Guntur and Vizianagaram districts are safe. Out of 20 pilgrims from Rajhamundry, 18 are safe. As on Sunday, of the six pilgrims missing, they could trace four. According to the officials of AP Bhavan, two pilgrims – Gunnisetty Sudha, and B Kotha Parvati from Rajahmundry still remain untraced.
Sixteen people died in the flash flood and around 40 pilgrims are missing. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has deployed helicopters for rescue and relief operations and has so far rescued around 15,000 pilgrims to a safe place. There are also many people from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana who were injured and are being treated at the Army hospitals.
Speaking to NewsMeter, the operator at the AP Bhavan helpline said, "We have received around five-six calls from Andhra Pradesh asking for the details of their family members who went missing in the Amarnath incident. We can get the full list of the pilgrims by today evening." Many pilgrims from both the Telugu states escaped and were rescued safely. About 50 pilgrims from various parts of Andhra Pradesh are safe in Srinagar and Jammu base camps. They are afraid to recollect the horrifying incident and are still in a state of shock.
'Bhago didi bhago'
"I feel like I got a second life. We started at midnight and reached the shrine. We finished our darshan and reached the tents located outside the cave. I was feeling tired and feverish, so I slept for some time. Meantime, around 10-12 members in the tent were shouting 'Bhaago didi Bhago' but I was not in a state to get up. My husband immediately pulled me out, and in seconds, the tent was washed away. I am still shivering," said a woman who is from the Telugu state.
'Man who sheltered us died'
For many pilgrims who were resting in the tents, they felt like it was the usual rain. But many couldn't realise that it was a cloud burst with huge chunks of rocks along with heavy water coming down on their tents. "We could see at least 15-20 tents being washed away along with people inside. Even the person who was taking care of us and sheltering us died in the incident," said a person who escaped.
'Restaurant we had food at washed away'
"We were coming down after darshan and sat in a restaurant to have food. All of a sudden, people were shouting 'Bhago bhago'. When we came out, the restaurant we were sitting in was washed away. We could see rocks and a heavy flow of water. We were running out for help when the Army teams rescued us and gave us shelter in the tents. Once the rain stopped and the weather was normal, we walked down 11-12 km to a safe place," said another woman from Telangana.