Uttarakhand glacier burst: Several bodies recovered, 150 still missing

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A portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off on Sunday in Uttrakhand. (Image Source: Twitter/Tajinder Singh Tiwana)

According to reports, 19 people have died and over 150 are still missing after a glacial break in Uttrakhand, India. The number is likely to increase as rescue operations are still underway. On Sunday morning, at Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, a portion of a Nanda Devi glacier broke that resulted in an avalanche of rocks, massive flooding of the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga and forced evacuation of thousands of people and damaged houses, roads, bridges as well as Rishiganga and NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation) power projects.  

As per media reports, five National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, two Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) teams have been deployed for search and rescue operations in the flood-hit area. The Army has also sent six columns and the navy has sent seven diving teams to the affected area. 

The missing people are mostly from NTPC and Rishiganga power plants. The Tapovan HydroElectric Power Dam also known as the Rishiganga project was completely washed off following the glacier burst, said the Indian Air Force’s initial report. Around 16 men were rescued safely from a tunnel in the NTPC power plant but about many are still missing.

On Monday, a team of scientists left the Joshimath area for surveillance and reconnaissance. The scientists belong to the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). 

The sudden flood in the middle of the day in the Dhauli Ganga, Rishi Ganga, and Alaknanda rivers – all of which are linked tributaries of the Ganga, caused widespread panic and large-scale devastation in the mountain areas.

Meanwhile, several countries expressed their condolences for those affected by the glacier burst. The US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs tweeted: “Our deepest condolences to those affected by the glacier burst and landslide in India.”

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson said: “The UK stands in solidarity with India and is ready to offer any support needed.”

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