The sudden flood on Sunday afternoon in the Dhauli Ganga, Rishi Ganga, and Alaknanda rivers triggered widespread panic and large-scale devastation in the high mountain areas.
At least 15 persons have been killed. Over 150 are missing after a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on Sunday, triggering a deluge in the Alaknanda river system.
The sudden flood in the middle of the day in the Dhauli Ganga, Rishi Ganga, and Alaknanda rivers — all intricately linked tributaries of the Ganga — triggered widespread panic large-scale devastation in the high mountain areas. Two power projects – NTPC’s Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project and the Rishi Ganga Hydel Project – were extensively damaged, with scores of laborers trapped in tunnels as the waters came rushing in.
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Entire Rishi Ganga power project destroyed, says DGP
Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar told the media that a bridge linking 13 villages located close to the border with China was washed away at the leading disaster site. The entire Rishi Ganga power project destroyed, and 46 laborers and five villagers were reported missing. “At Tapovan, 12 persons were rescued from the smaller tunnel on Sunday, and 13 missing persons have reported back to the authorities. Over 30 people were feared trapped in the long tunnel from which debris and slush were being removed,” he said.
Scientists leave for Joshimath for surveillance, reconnaissance after glacier burst
A team of scientists, flown to Dehradun after the glacier burst in Uttarakhand, left for the Joshimath area on Monday for surveillance and reconnaissance. The scientists, belonging to the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), were flown to the Uttarakhand capital on Sunday night.
The mouth of the tunnel cleared, says Army
The mouth of the tunnel, which many are feared trapped, has been cleared, the Indian Army said on Monday. Work continued throughout the night with earthmovers by installing generators and searchlights, it said in a statement.
It added that a field hospital is providing medical aid at the incident site.” Indian Airforce Helicopter sorties for insertion of rescue teams commenced before first light. reconnaissance of higher reaches to detect avalanche threat is underway,” it added. The Army and Engineer Task Forces were attempting to clear the mouth of the tunnel since late Sunday.
U.N. stands ready to contribute to ongoing rescue and assistance efforts.
The United Nations stands ready to contribute to the ongoing rescue and assistance efforts in Uttarakhand if necessary. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said as the top leadership of the global organization expressed sadness over the loss of life damage from the glacier burst and flooding.
NDRF personnel land at Joshimath helipad to help out with the rescue mission in Uttarakhand
Commenting on the glacier burst, Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for Secretary-General Guterres, said: “The reported loss of life deeply saddens the Secretary-General and dozens missing following the glacier burst and subsequent flooding in Uttarakhand State, India, on Sunday.”
“The Secretary-General expresses his deep condolences to the families of the victims and the people and Government of India. The United Nations stands ready to contribute to ongoing rescue and assistance efforts if necessary,” he said in a statement. Responding to the statement by Mr. Guterres, India’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti said: “Deeply appreciate the sentiments expressed by U.N. Secretary-General” on the glacier burst in Uttarakhand. – PTI
Search and rescue operations underway in Chamoli
A joint team comprising the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the National Disaster Response Force personnel (NDRF) are continuing the search operation for trapped laborers. “The work of removing slush from the 2.5-km-long tunnel at Tapovan is still underway. JCB has been deployed. Three NDRF teams had joined the rescue operations earlier, along with canine search squads. More personnel are being airlifted using MI-17 helicopters,” said NDRF Director-General S.N. Pradhan.
Uttarakhand, Director-General of Police Ashok Kumar told the media that following the glacier burst, boulders and debris caused massive damage to the Raini power project. In all, 32 people from the first and 121 people from the second project were missing.
Experts point to climate change impact
A deluge that resulted from a glacial melt on Nanda Devi flooded the Rishiganga river in Uttarakhand and washed away at least two hydroelectric power projects — the 13.2 MW Rishiganga hydroelectric power project and the Tapovan project on the Dhauliganga river, a tributary of the Alakananda. There were also concerns that the excess water would further travel downstream to the river Alaknanda and threaten villages and hydro projects on the river.
However, the India Meteorological Department has said that no rains are forecast. Officials of the Central Water Commission meanwhile said the flooding from the glacial burst had been contained.
Tapovan hydel project entirely washed away, says ITBP Officer
Vendor Nayak, Commanding Officer of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), led the rescue operation at the tunnel of the NTPC’s Tapovan hydel project, where 12 workers were rescued after a seven-hour operation on Sunday, said the project was thoroughly washed away. The few houses that remain undamaged on the site were covered in slush up to 20 feet deep.
Over a hundred persons are missing after the flash flood caused by a glacier splintering. It washed away two hydel power projects — the Rishiganga small hydro project and National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) Tapovan project on the Dhauliganga river banks in north Uttarakhand.
Mr. Nayak, whose team of 250 personnel were the first to reach the Tapovan project, said it took them seven hours to unblock the tunnel where 12 persons were struck.
Now, after the pandemic, this glacier outbreak has broken the hearts of many people. What do you feel about it? Let us know in the comment section below.