India floods: More than 5,700 people 'presumed dead'

Yogita Limaye reports from one town devastated by the floods

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The government in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand has said that more than 5,700 people missing after last month's devastating floods will now be presumed dead.

Their families will be given financial compensation.

Earlier, authorities had confirmed that some 600 people had died.

More than 100,000 people were rescued from the Himalayan mountains after floods and landslides affected more than 4,000 villages.

This year's early monsoon rains in the Uttarakhand region are believed to be the heaviest in 80 years.

Swollen rivers have swept away entire villages in the state, where there were many travellers in what is peak tourist season.

The BBC's Yogita Limaye, in Uttarakhand, says 5,748 people who remain untraced will now be presumed dead so that the government can begin to give financial compensation to their families.

The chief minister of Uttarakhand state, Vijay Bahuguna, said the government would issue "certificates to families of the missing so that the people can get compensation immediately".

The compensation will amount to 500,000 rupees ($8,350; £5,528) per victim, officials say.

However, authorities say, the exact number of deaths may never be known.

Many bodies may have been washed away or remain buried under debris. Some of the bodies were recovered in rivers downstream from the flood zone and cremated in the places where they were found.

A month after the floods, many of the affected areas are still cut off as connecting roads have been washed away.

The government has announced that the temple town of Kedarnath, one of the worst affected areas, will be closed to the public for at least a year.

Meanwhile, the administration is struggling to provide relief to communities in remote areas where thousands who have lost their homes are living in temporary camps.

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