Uttarakhand glacier breach: 26 bodies recovered, search for 171 missing people still on
- Rescue operation is underway for the second day on Monday
- The second tunnel was being cleared of debris to carry out rescue operations
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was monitoring the relief operation
After a part of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off at Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district at 10.45 am on Sunday, 26 bodies have been recovered till 8 pm on February 8, reports ANI. The gushing water from the breach triggered an avalanche that swept away hydroelectric stations and trapped around 171 people.
Around 35 are supposed to be in the Tunnel, where rescue operation is still going on, reports ANI quoting Ashok Kumar, DGP, Uttarakhand.
"Till 8 pm of 8th February, 26 bodies have been recovered. 171 people still remain missing out of which around 35 are supposed to be in the Tunnel where rescue operation is still going on," Kumar told ANI.
Out of the 11 bodies, three were recovered from Tapovan and seven in the route to Karnprayag, ANI reported quoting Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar.
The alarmingly increased water levels in the Dhauli Ganga, Rishi Ganga and Alaknanda rivers caused large scale devastation and two hydroelectric projects-- NTPC’s Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project and the Rishi Ganga Hydel Project-- were damaged. Around 150 labourers got trapped in tunnels as waters came rushing in.
In an operation by Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), all 16 people were rescued from a tunnel near Tapovan dam in Chamoli.
"Now we are focusing on second tunnel, that is tunnel number one, we've learnt that around 30 people are trapped there," ITBP PRO Vivek Pandey told ANI on Sunday.
On Monday, the second day of the rescue operation, the tunnel was being cleared of the debris to carry out rescue operations, ANI reported.
Uttarakhand's Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has appealed to people to not spread rumours through old flood videos.
Homes along the way were also swept away as the waters rushed down the mountainsides in a raging torrent. There were fears of damage in human settlements downstream, including in heavily populated areas. Many villages were evacuated and people were taken to safer areas.
As of now, the Uttarakhand state government has announced financial aid of Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of the deceased.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the tragic avalanche. Rs 50,000 would be given to those who were seriously injured in the incident.
By evening, it became clear that downstream areas were safe. A 13.2 MW small hydro project on the Rishi Ganga was swept away in the glacier burst but there was no danger of floods, the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) was informed at an emergency meeting in the national capital.
Several districts, including Pauri, Tehri, Rudraprayag, Haridwar and Dehradun, were put on high alert and forces of the ITBP and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are still continuing their rescue operation in the area.
As details of the disaster came in, President Ram Nath Kovind said he was deeply worried about the massive glacier burst at Joshimath, about 295 km from Dehradun.
"Praying for wellbeing and safety of people. Am confident that rescue and relief operations on ground are progressing well," he tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was constantly monitoring the situation in the state. He also talked about the devastating situation during his rally in West Bengal later in the day.
In some good news, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) informed that there is no rainfall warning in the region for the next two days.
For further analysing the disaster, a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) team of snow and avalanche experts from its newly-created Defence Geo-Informatics Research Establishment will arrive on Monday in Chamoli. The team would assess the situation in glaciers around the site.
The Indian Navy, Indian Army and Indian Air Force have been deployed to successfully complete the rescue operation.