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Image Intelligence: India witnesses one of its worst floods

Images/ Text Courtesy: Uttarakhand Space Application Centre

Uttarakhand is one of the most famous tourist destinations in India. The state is not only popular for its mountains and natural beauty, but also for its Char Dhams (four religious places of followers of Hindu religion). Kedarnath is one of the most frequented Dhams. It is located in the snow-clad area of the Himalayas at a height of 3,583 m (11,755 ft) above the sea level in the Mandakini valley of Rudraprayag district.

On June 16 and 17 this year, the state experienced heavy rainfall which triggered floods and landslides in the area resulting in the death of thousands of people and a massive damage to infrastructure. Areas in and around Kedarnath Dham have been completely destroyed. Satellite images obtained show dramatic alterations in the region’s topography. For example, earlier, only one stream used to flow in the background of Kedarnath shrine, which used to split into two after coming down the hills. But post-disaster, images show that a new (third) stream has been formed in the region.

Pre-disaster satellite imagery

    1 & 2 : Images show that water moves along in thin channels

    3: Settlements around Kedarnath temple

Post-disaster satellite imagery

    1 & 2 : The channels of water have become broader

    3: The town has almost disappeared by debris flow from both the east and west valleys