On February 7, a glacier broke in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, which subsequently washed a small hydroelectric dam away. So far, according to Indian news channel, NDTV, 20 people have died and 200 are missing. The flash floods also forced the evacuation of villages downstream.
Water, rock and dust poured down a mountain valley, officials said and they believe that there are people trapped in the tunnels.
President of India Rashtrapati Bhavan’s tweet displaying his concern for the tsunami that resulted in 200 people to go missing and killed 20
“A joint team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and the Army are conducting the rescue operation…Efforts underway to safely rescue those who are stuck in the tunnel,” the Government of Uttarakhand tweeted on February 8.
The glacier crash took place in the district of Chamoli and the hydroelectric project that was underway was called Rishiganga. Another bigger one was also damaged further downstream.
Photo: Courtesy of Asian News International
Most people who went missing were people working on the two projects. According to Al Jazeera’s Elizabeth Puranam, some 400 military personnel were deployed to the rescue site.
“There are a lot of questions being asked about why hydroelectric power plants were being built in such ecologically sensitive areas,” Puranam said.
Talking to local media, Sangram Singh Rawat – a former council member of Raini, the site closest to the glacier – said: “Everything was swept away, people, cattle and trees.”
The glacier washed away the main road, the tunnels have been filled with mud and rocks.
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