Fog , rain hampering efforts to rescue thousands stranded in flood-hit northern Indian state

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Army officials say bad weather was hampering efforts to evacuate thousands of people stranded in northern India where nearly 1,000 people have died in monsoon flooding and landslides.

Brig. Uma Maheshwar said Sunday that the army has suspended helicopter flights to rescue people stranded in Uttarakhand state after dense fog descended on the Himalayan region. Instead, troops built makeshift bridges and people were being brought to safety by road.

Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna told reporters late Saturday that the death toll had reached 1,000. The exact number of people who have died in the torrential downpours and flooding of the Ganges River will be known once rescue efforts were over, he said.

Thousands of people were still stranded in remote mountain valleys in Uttarakhand, a popular pilgrimage destination.