Large-scale disruption of road routes and bridges due to heavy rains is causing many hardships to the people in Uttarakhand's remote hill villages with pregnant women and the elderly being the worst hit.
A large number of motorable rural roads are still blocked by landslide debris forcing people to carry women having labour pain or the elderly in chairs mounted with the help of sticks on their shoulders to the nearest health facility.
This has been the plight of the remote villages of Pokhri, Joshimath, Dasholi, Ghat and Dewal blocks of Chamoli district for nearly a month People on Friday risked their lives to carry Kiran Devi and her newly born baby on their shoulders from the hospital crossing through breached roads and rain-fed streams to her home in Vaan - the last village of Dewal block.
Similarly, Juthuli Devi of Gaadi village in Dasholi block was carried to the nearest medical facility in Birhi when she fell ill recently. This is the way women in labour or the old and elderly are being carried to hospitals for nearly a month due to the closure of Pokhri-Simlasu motor road.
"If the distance between the village and the nearest road or medical facility is too long, villagers carry the patients on their shoulders by turns," said Upendra Sati, a teacher in Pokhri. The patients are seated in chairs which are lifted on the shoulders with the help of bamboo sticks and taken forward.