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Pilgrim death toll continues to rise 2022

Dehradun: In the 24 days since the Char Dham yatra started on May 3, at least 83 pilgrims have died. Among the victims, the highest of 42 deaths have been reported on the Kedarnath route, followed by 25 on the Yamunotri trek route, 13 near Badrinath, and four at Gangotri. 
Several deaths have occurred due to cardiac-related issues. To date, over 10 lakh devotees have visited the Char Dham shrines and the number is expected to rise further when schools close for summer break.
The two yatra seasons of 2020 and 2021 were curtailed due to the Covid-19 scare. In 2017, a total of 112 pilgrims died during the yatra, 102 in 2018, and 90 in 2019. This year, in less than four weeks, as many as 83 devotees have died out of which more than half 42 died on the trek route of Kedarnath.
While Kedarnath has a trek route of 16 km, the trek route of Yamunotri Dham is 5 km long whereas one can drive close to the two other shrines of Badrinath and Gangotri. Till May 26, a total of 3.4 pilgrims have offered prayers at Kedarnath, 3.35 lakh at Badrinath, 2 lakh at Gangotri, and 1.49 lakh at Yamunotri.
In comparison, the devotee footfall in 2016 was 14.05 lakh, 21.93 lakh in 2017, 26.22 lakh in 2018, and 32.41 lakh in 2019. The figure recorded in 2019 is the highest to date and the number is expected to go higher than that this year. 
This is in fact a major problem being faced by the authorities this year as the yatra has resumed in full flow after two years and pilgrims are coming in large numbers.
Both health minister and health authorities have maintained that the pilgrim deaths didn't occur "due to lack of medical attention. Officials claimed that "all possible aid was being provided and a total of 117 ambulances have been deployed on the yatra duty."
Meanwhile, director general (health) Dr. Shailja Bhatt told, "We have the required staff on the Char Dham route and their duties are being rotated every 15 days. When required, we deploy additional staff. We have 25 specialists posted. Besides, there are general medical duty officers, staff nurses, and paramedics."
She also pointed out that the health department has requested the Ayush ministry to provide Ayurvedic doctors posted in the district for Char Dham duty to provide support. "We have been assured that the Ayurvedic doctors of districts would be provided to the health department as and when required by the chief medical officer," she added.

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