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Friday, May 07, 2021

Uttarakhand: 10 die in glacier break in Chamoli, 400 rescued

The Uttarakhand Police said eight people were unaccounted for, with bad weather affecting rescue operations.

Written by Krishn Kaushik , Lalmani Verma | Dehradun, New Delhi |
Updated: April 25, 2021 7:43:03 am
uttarakhand glacier burst, uttarakhand glacier breaks, Niti Valley, Niti Valley glacier, uttarakhand flood, tirath singh rawat, uttarakhand alertRescue work on at the site in Sumna, Niti Valley. (Indian Army)

The glacier burst near Niti Valley in Chamoli district on Friday evening resulted in an avalanche that killed 10 people, with the Army managing to rescue close to 400. The Uttarakhand Police said eight people were unaccounted for, with bad weather affecting rescue operations.

In a statement issued Saturday, the Army said that at around 4 pm on Friday “an avalanche hit a location about 4 km ahead of Sumna on the Sumna-Rimkhim road”, an area with little habitation or communication facilities around 90 km from Joshimath, that has been seeing heavy rain and snowfall for the past five days. A BRO detachment, two labour camps for road construction and an Army camp are located nearby, the Army said.

Given the blizzard, rescue could begin only late Friday evening, with 55 people brought out in the first batch, the Army said. The operations continued through the night, and in the late hours, 150 personnel of the GREF (General Reserve Engineer Force) stuck in the BRO camp were brought to safety. Eventually four more rounds of rescue were mounted, bringing out 37, 22, nine and 19 people, before operations had to be halted due to the weather.

The Army again launched rescue early on Saturday, at first light, with 93 people brought out by noon.

The Army said road access to four to five locations continued to be cut off due to multiple landslides, and Border Roads Task Force teams from Joshimath were trying to clear the route from Bhapkund to Sumna.

Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat conducted an aerial inspection of the affected area on Saturday and reviewed the progress of the rescue operations at a meeting with officers of the Army, BRO, NDRF and district administration, offering them all the support needed.

Rawat said around 400 workers of the BRO were working in the Sumna area. The CM said that the NDRF in Ghaziabad too had been put on alert mode. “I am in constant touch with the district administration and BRO,” Rawat said, adding that Home Minister Amit Shah had assured full help to Uttarakhand.

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