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Mass cremations for Indian flood victims

Hindu priests and tonnes of logs airlifted to worst-hit town of Kedarnath for last rites of 300 people who died.

Last Modified: 27 Jun 2013 11:23
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Tonnes of logs for the mass cremation were airlifted to Kedarnath [Reuters]

Mass cremations have been held for hundreds of people who were killed by devastating floods and landslides in the Indian state of Uttarakhand nearly two weeks ago.

Army helicopters flew Hindu priests to the worst-hit town of Kedarnath to conduct funeral prayers on Thursday before the mass cremations of nearly 300 bodies that were found buried in silt near the town's main temple.

State government spokesman Amit Chandola said authorities earlier airlifted tonnes of logs for the cremations, but the funerals were delayed by intermittent rain.

The state's chief minister has said the death toll will exceed 1,000.

Police say more than 500 people are still missing.

A helicopter helping to rescue stranded people crashed near a pilgrimage site on Tuesday, killing all eight people on board.

Armed forces have evacuated more than 10,000 people to safety so far. But many of those still stranded at higher altitudes of the hilly state are feared to be without food and water.

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