LUCKNOW, India — Days after floods killed more than 100 people – possibly many more – rescuers used helicopters and climbed through mountain paths to reach about 4,000 people trapped by landslides in a narrow valley near a Hindu shrine in the northern Himalayas, officials said Thursday.

The helicopters ferried rescue workers and doctors along with equipment, food and medicine to Kedarnath in the state of Uttrakhand, the nearest town to those trapped in the valley, said Air Commodore Rajesh Prasad, who is overseeing the operations.

Amit Chandola, a state spokesman, said authorities so far have been unable to reach eight villages feared washed away by the weekend floods in the worst-hit districts of Rudraprayag and Chamoli.

With the weather improving, army commandos would try to reach the areas on Friday, Chandola said.

He said the official death in Uttrakhand is 105 but added, "We don't know yet what happened to hundreds of people living there." An additional 17 people died in collapsed homes in neighboring Uttar Pradesh state, said R.L. Vishwakarma, a state police officer.

Rakesh Sharma, a state official, said the death toll could be much higher, running into thousands, but the exact number would be known only after a survey of the entire region.

A joint army and air force operation has so far evacuated nearly 14,000 people stranded in the area but nearly 61,000 people remained cut off, officials said.

Chandola said some of the blocked roads were reopened to traffic in the region and nearly 2,000 vehicles moved out of the area carrying stranded tourists.

The flooding washed away roads and nearly two dozen bridges, demolished 365 houses and partially damaged 275 others in Uttrakhand, the state government said. Most of those stranded are Hindu pilgrims who were visiting four revered shrines.

Hundreds of distressed people looking for relatives flocked to Dehradun, the state capital, where flood survivors were taken by plane and helicopter. As those rescued exited the aircraft, those searching for missing people showed them pictures of their loved ones in hopes that someone had seen them.

The lucky ones spoke to their stranded relatives on the phone Wednesday and were waiting for them to be rescued.

State Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said the Kedarnath temple – one of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, located atop the Garhwal Himalayan range – had escaped major damage, but up to 10 feet (4 meters) of debris covered the area around it.

The state received 380 millimeters (14 inches) of rain in the past week, nearly five times the average for that time period, said R.P.N. Singh, India's junior home minister.

Air force spokeswoman Priya Joshi said 30 helicopters and aircraft have dropped food packets and other relief supplies in addition to ferrying stranded tourists. More than 5,000 soldiers helped bring thousands of homeless people to relief camps and provided them with food and medical supplies.

The latest rains have affected several states and the capital, New Delhi, where nearly 2,000 people were evacuated to government-run camps on higher ground. Authorities there said the Yamuna River was expected to start receding Thursday afternoon.

The annual monsoon rains sustain India's agriculture but also cause flooding that routinely claims lives and damages property.

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  • A rescue boat sailing through the water logged lanes during flood in river Yamuna on June 20, 2013 in New Delhi, India. Low-lying areas along the Yamuna remained submerged for the second consecutive day though the water level in the river started receding today. (Photo by Arijit Sen/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

  • A man wading through submerged road near Yamuna Bank metro station during flood in river Yamuna on June 20, 2013 in New Delhi, India. (Virendra Singh Gosain/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

  • Submerged bus standing on road near Yamuna Bank metro station during flood in river Yamuna on June 20, 2013 in New Delhi, India. (Virendra Singh Gosain/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

  • An Indian child retrieves toys from his house following flash floods and landslides in Govind Ghat on June 23, 2013. (MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A stranded Indian pilgrim, seen carrying a child, is transported across a river using a rope rescue system by Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel in Govind Ghat on June 23, 2013. (MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Indian Hindu devotees look at the Ganges river as the water level rises in Allahabad on June 23, 2013. (Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel and local residents pull a rope to rescue stranded pilgrims on the other side of a river at Govind Ghat on June 23, 2013. (MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Stranded Indian pilgrims wait to be rescued on the side of a river at Govind Ghat on June 23, 2013. (MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • An Indian Border Roads Organisation (BRO) worker clears a landslide across the road caused by overnight rains in Gauchar on June 24, 2013. (MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A submerged idol of Hindu Lord Shiva stands in the flooded River Ganges in Rishikesh, in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, India, Tuesday, June 18, 2013. Monsoon torrential rains have cause havoc in northern India leading to flash floods, cloudbursts and landslides as the death toll continues to climb and more than 1,000 pilgrims bound for Himalayan shrines remain stranded. (AP Photo)

  • Bulldozer and other vehicles are drifting in a flooded river in Uttarkashi district, India, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo)

  • In this Sunday, June 16, 2013 photo, a three-story building is destroyed by floodwaters, in Uttarkash, in northern Indian state of Uttarakhund. (AP Photo)

  • An Indian man holds an umbrella during a monsoon shower in Mumbai, India, Sunday, June 16, 2013. Heavy rains continued to lash India’'s commercial capital Sunday. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

  • An man rests in his rickshaw as it rains in New Delhi, India, Sunday, June 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

  • People walk with umbrellas while it rains in Mumbai, India, Sunday, June 16, 2013. Heavy rains continued to lash India’s commercial capital Sunday. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

  • A local train moves through a flooded railway track after heavy rains in Mumbai, India, Sunday, June 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

  • Indian children play with an inflated tube on a flooded street after heavy monsoon rains in Mumbai, India, Sunday, June 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

  • Houses are partly submerged in the flooded River Ganges in Uttarakashi district, in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, India, Tuesday, June 18, 2013. (AP Photo)

  • A man rows past a bus partly submerged in flood water in Rishikesh, in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, India, Tuesday, June 18, 2013. (AP Photo)

  • Houses are partly submerged in the flooded Alaknanda River in Govind Ghat, in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, India, Tuesday, June 18, 2013. (AP Photo)

  • Locals swim near a scale showing the danger zone near the bank of river Yamuna in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, June 18, 2013. (AP Photo/ Saurabh Das)

  • Indian people walk on a road which was caved in after incessant rains on Rishikesh-Mana highway near Joshimath district in northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, India, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo)

  • Houses are submerged as trucks flow in flood waters of the Bhagirathi River in Shrinagar district in northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, India, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo)

  • Indian people gather at the site of a road accident on the Hardiwar-Mana national highway, in northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, India, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo)

  • Indian people move furniture as homes floods due to the heavy rains in the northern state of Uttarakhand on June 17, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Fast moving water flows over a Hindu statue during a heavy monsoon rain in Rishikesh town in the Indian state of Uttrakhand on June 17, 2013. (STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • An Indian man rides his auto rickshaw through a flooded road after a heavy spell of rain in Mumbai, India, Sunday, June 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

  • A boy plays in a flooded street during monsoon rains in Mumbai, India, Sunday, June 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)