A huge avalanche of water that has descended on the Kedarnath Vale in Uttarakhand, has claimed 50 lives so far, with another 1,000 persons presumed missing. People in this valley serve the pilgrims who visit to the shrine of Lord Shiva, and a number of them have met with tragedy, losing members of family to the floods, which have washed away entire areas including a lot of the picturesque boarding houses which stood at the edge of the river Ganga.
These devastating floods are a sign of the change in the pattern of weather being experienced throughout the world at this stage. India has not seen floods like the Himalayan tsunami for the last 80 years.
The Indian army, navy and air force response has been magnificent, as they have rescued more than 450 people so far, deploying more than 60 helicopters and 10,000 personnel, and continue to work round the clock, to drop food, water, blankets to the people marooned out there in the narrow and steep Kedarnath valley, and rescuing a safe load of people each time. May God's blessings be on these people, both the victims of the floods and the brave people heroically carrying out their duties.
It cannot be an easy task piloting camaflouged helicopters in rainy or misty conditions, in temperatures which are getting low; one commercial helicopter crashed, but thankfully it had no passengers and the pilot was rescued.
People marooned out there in the valley have seen starvation and thirst for five days since the deluge of water engulfed that area. Some people have seen several members of family washed away in front of their eyes; others have experienced seeing their neighbours drop dead from cold as they sat there.
On such a pilgrimage, people would not have imagined that they would be caught up in anything like these devastating floods.
The government has done some immediate emergency relief efforts, including the impressive rescue mission by the services. About 50,000 people are said to have become homeless and displaced. It remains to be seen what the government will do for them in the coming days and months.
My brotherly condolences are with the people who have suffered in this natural disaster; people who were looking for peace and God, they surely now rest at the Lotus feet of our Lord in Heaven.
My brothers and sisters, I share your grief.