It is a disaster that has shaken the northern part of India. Emergency crews are hard at work as they search for as many as 171 people after a glacier supposedly to have fallen into a river in the state of Uttarakhand creating a huge flood and killing 26 people.
A dam was flooded open due to the force of the water and a deluge rushed through a valley on Sunday. Most of the missing are believed to be workers from two hydropower plants.
A deadly flash flood set off by a glacier burst in Uttarakhand had rescue teams rushing to save lives in an emotional overnight operation. pic.twitter.com/Il1qczWXqg— Brut India (@BrutIndia) February 8, 2021
The rescue effort is focused on several sites, including a tunnel more than 200 metres long. Over 30 people were apparently trapped inside when the icy water swept down the valley, carrying rocks as it gathered momentum.
UTTARAKHAND: Ground Zero Update @khalsaaid_india volunteer team is at ground zero where people are stranded and stuck due to glacier disaster.— MandeepThakur #ਮੈ_ਵੀ_ਕਿਸਾਨ 🇮🇳 ❣🚜❣ (@Mandeep15966711) February 8, 2021
Assessments are being done presently on ground zero in coordination with state disaster authority.@ravishndtv@ndtvindia @new24 share pic.twitter.com/5VUcfhrFF2
According to local media, the tunnel is blocked with slush and debris. There has been no contact with the workers made since the catastrophe happened and officials say it is hard to tell where in the tunnel they are and whether they are together. Hundreds of troops, paramilitaries, and military helicopters have been deployed region to help with rescue efforts.
Rescue workers and locals have been using shovels and other machinery and mechanical equipment to try and clear the entrance to the tunnel. An investigation is continuing into what caused the suspected glacial burst.
An investigation is continuing into what caused the suspected glacial burst. Uttarakhand police said an avalanche struck at about 11:00 local time on Sunday, destroying a dam known as the Rishiganga Hydroelectric Project.
Police said the impact catapulted water along the Dhauliganga river, damaging another power project downstream in the Tapovan area.
Senior police officials said a bridge in the Tapovan area that connected 13 villages was washed away in the avalanche. Food packets were air dropped in some of these villages.
Emergency workers had earlier evacuated dozens of villages, but authorities later said the main flood danger had passed. Emergency crews rescued 16 workers who had been trapped inside a tunnel filled with debris.
At least 18 people have died, and up to 200 are missing after part of a Himalayan #glacier broke off in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, sending a torrent of water and debris down the mountain. #GlacierBurst pic.twitter.com/k4oHKdroRL— Shah A Farhad (@BeingFarhad) February 8, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also sent his thoughts to the those facing the emergency in Uttarakhand via Twitter.
Am constantly monitoring the unfortunate situation in Uttarakhand. India stands with Uttarakhand and the nation prays for everyone’s safety there. Have been continuously speaking to senior authorities and getting updates on NDRF deployment, rescue work and relief operations.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 7, 2021
UK's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Policy Canada also extended their messages via Twitter over the Uttarakhand calamity.
My thoughts are with the people of India and rescue workers in Uttarakhand as they respond to devastating flooding from the glacier collapse. The UK stands in solidarity with India and is ready to offer any support needed.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 7, 2021
Canada is saddened to learn of the deadly floods in Uttarakhand, #India, following the partial break of a glacier. We stand in solidarity with our Indian friends as the situation develops. Our thoughts are with those who have perished or gone missing.— Foreign Policy CAN (@CanadaFP) February 8, 2021
According to officials between 35 and 40 others were thought to be trapped in a second tunnel. Emergency crews have reached the mouth of the 2.5km tunnel and are in the process of clearing the area with heavy equipment.
Photos courtesy of Twitter.