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Uttarakhand flash floods Live updates: No headway in tunnel; death toll rises to 34

Uttarakhand flash floods Live news Updates: DIG Garhwal Neeru Garg said that of the six bodies recovered on Tuesday, four were from the Rishi Ganga power project site at Raini village, one was from Chamoli and another from Nandprayag.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 11, 2021 1:19:57 am
Uttarakhand flash floods Live updates: No headway in tunnel; death toll rises to 32Site of the Tapovan hydel project as rescue works are underway on Wednesday after a glacier broke off in Joshimath causing massive flooding in Dhauli Ganga River, in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. (Express photo by Gajendra Yadav)

Uttarakhand flash floods Live Updates: With more than three days since the flash flood struck Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, hopes of finding any more survivors at the Tapovan and Rishi Ganga power project sites dimmed as rescue agencies recovered six more bodies on Tuesday.

So far, 34 bodies have been recovered in the region, with over 170 people still missing.

DIG Garhwal Neeru Garg said that of the six bodies recovered on Tuesday, four were from the Rishi Ganga power project site at Raini village, one was from Chamoli and another from Nandprayag. Two of the bodies are of police personnel who were deployed at the power plant, she said.

At the Tapovan tunnel, the centre of the rescue operations where 35 people are feared trapped, there has been no breakthrough so far, despite excavators working round the clock to remove the slush in the 1.9-km tunnel. Rescue agencies are now deploying advanced technologies such as a helicopter carrying a laser with electromagnetic pulse imager for an aerial survey over the tunnel, and a camera drone to be sent inside the tunnel.

Live Blog

Death toll in Uttarakhand flash floods rises to 34; Over 170 people still missing; No headway in tunnel, officials deploy drones, laser imaging. Follow this space for the latest updates.

01:19 (IST)11 Feb 2021
DRDO team finishes first survey

A six-member team of scientists, from Chandigarh-based Defence Geo-Informatics Research Establishment of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has completed its first survey of Nanda Devi glacier and the downstream areas affected by the flash flood in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district.

The team has sent images and other samples for examination to its Chandigarh laboratory, sources said. Read more

21:07 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Uttarakhand: After 3 days of rescue ops, govt told labourers might be trapped in another tunnel

After three days of rescue operations in NTPC’s Intake Adit tunnel in Uttarakhand’s flash flood-hit Tapovan area, the strategy was changed Wednesday evening, after NTPC authorities said the labourers were trapped in another silt filtration tunnel located 12 metres below Intake Adit.

Sources said that Uttarakhand government authorities, in a meeting today, directed NTPC officials to share “correct” information, and send expert engineers of the tunnel to the site to assist in the rescue operations. More details here.

19:30 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Uttarakhand disaster: 2 listed as missing return home safely after being stranded in Chamoli

Two persons who were listed as missing in the avalanche and flash floods in Uttarakhand returned to their homes safely on Wednesday after being stranded in different areas of Chamoli district following the calamity three days ago, officials said.

Suraj Singh from Chamoli in Uttarakhand and Rashid from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh returned to their homes on Wednesday, Additional District Information Officer, Chamoli, Ravindra Negi said.

Singh and Rashid were among those missing after the calamity, as per official records. 

The duo were stranded while they were returning to their villages, the officials said. (PTI)

18:25 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Watch: ITBP carries ration items to Long village

ITBP personnel carrying ration items to Long village, which has been cut off due to flash floods.

17:34 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Two more bodies recovered

Two more bodies recovered in Chamoli district. Death toll in the flash flood incident reaches 34.

17:17 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Dalai Lama writes to Uttarakhand CM, offers sympathy, support 

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama has written to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, expressing his condolences to the families of the people killed in a glacier disaster in Chamoli district of the state.

"I offer my condolences to those who have lost loved ones, and pray for them. I also pray for the safety and well-being of those who are still missing. I understand that both the central and the state governments are engaged in rescue work and are doing their utmost to provide relief to people affected by this calamity," the letter read.

"As a gesture of solidarity with the people of Uttarakhand, I have asked the Dalai Lama Trust to make a donation towards the relief and rescue efforts," it added. (PTI)

Image result for dalai lama indian express

15:25 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Rescue operation inside Tapovan tunnel underway

ITBP and other agencies are cutting loose ends of pipes and wires inside the Tapovan tunnel as rescue operation continues.

15:06 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Uttarakhand floods: Team of scientific experts conducts aerial survey

A team of scientific experts from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology has made an aerial survey of the location of the snow avalanche which triggered flash floods in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand on Sunday. The experts stated that the flash floods could be a case of a large chunk of snow slipping from a hanging glacier.

The team returned to Raini village, which saw maximum damage of the flash floods, and is trying to reach the ground location today. More details here.

14:15 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Uttarakhand flashflood: Power plant official missing, his son waits – with hope

Each time someone mentioned that another body has been pulled out of the debris, Salik Zargar pushed past officials engaged in the rescue and relief operations to check if it was his missing father. Each time, the body was that of someone else and the 24-year-old would return relieved, yet anxious.

Salik said he wanted to believe that there was still a chance that his father, Basharat Zargar (52), was alive.

At Raini village, around 8 km ahead of Tapovan, lies the Rishiganga Power Plant. Like at Tapovan, many working at the plant and a few residents of the villages around are missing. However, officials at the site say they are not looking for survivors anymore.

14:11 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Multi-agency meeting held to review rescue strategy

A meeting of multiple agencies including ITBP, Army and local administration was held in Joshimath on Wednesday to review the rescue and relief strategy, news agency ANI reported.

14:08 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Uttarakhand flash floods: ITBP personnel carry ration to villages cut off from Chamoli by land

ITBP personnel Wednesday carried ration to villages cut off from the rest of the Chamoli district by land due to the glacier burst. Below is a video from Lata Helipad in Chamoli district.

13:41 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Uttarakhand flash flood: Slush holds up Army search ops near barrage where over 100 feared missing

As rescue operations continued for the third day in the tunnel at Tapovan power project site without a breakthrough, the Army made an attempt to start search operations near the barrage of the project on Dhauli Ganga river, at a site where more than a hundred people are feared missing.

But the team had to abort the operation after finding the surface unsuitable for movement.

A team of four Army personnel from Garhwal Rifles on Tuesday morning climbed to reach a site between the barrage of the NTPC project and a retaining wall, located about 150 metres away. Over a dozen Armymen stayed at a higher perch with ropes and other equipment to assist them in climbing down, and later getting up.

13:17 (IST)10 Feb 2021
IAF conducts aerial survey of Tapovan

A Chinook successfully executed a landing at Malari and an Advanced Light Helicopter landed at Tapovan after carrying out an aerial recce of Tapovan and the glacier on Wednesday, the Indian Air Force said, news agency ANI reported.

12:50 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Explained: Glacial lakes — risks, solutions

Sunday’s flash floods in Uttarakhand underline the risk. One of India’s leading glaciologists discusses ways to assess and minimise this. Excerpts from an interview with D P Dobhal, a glaciologist, formerly associated with the Dehradun-based Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology. He has worked extensively on Himalayan glaciers.

What could be behind the disaster in Uttarakhand?

It seems like an incident triggered by a snow avalanche. The area had seen two days of heavy snowfall last week. And suddenly the weather cleared and became a little warmer. That seems to have led to some melting of snow, triggering an avalanche, which resulted in a series of events leading to the flash floods. Read more here

12:07 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Not much progress in rescue operation: Uttarakhand DGP

Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar Wednesday said not much progress has been made in the rescue operation being carried out in the aftermath of the flash floods in the state. "We've recovered 32 bodies, 8 identified, 24 unknown. Rescue team also recovered 2 Uttarakhand Police personnel bodies. Can't confirm exact number for missing & dead people but it's between 192 & 204," he said. 

12:02 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Uttarakhand flash floods: Rescue operations continue

Multi-agency rescue operations to rescue those stuck inside Tapovan tunnel in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district continued on Wednesday. 

Aparna Kumar, DIG Sector HQ, ITBP, Chamoli said, "The challenge we are facing is that debris & slush is coming out from the tunnel. Machines to continue to work inside the tunnel. We need to progress carefully as water with high pressure might come from inside the tunnel."

"We just know that tunnel is 2.5 km long & 30-35 workers inside got stuck. SDRF, police, ITPB, Army & Navy divers removing debris to find those stuck inside the tunnel," said Piyoosh Rautela, Disaster Mitigation & Management Centre, Uttarakhand. 

Below are some visuals of the rescue operations inside Tapovan tunnel. 

 Multi-agency rescue operations to rescue those stuck inside Tapovan tunnel in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district continued on Wednesday. (ANI)


11:37 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Uttarakhand flash flood: Raini counts its dead, no road link for 13 villages to China border

As debris and slush were cleared from the Rishi Ganga power plant site near Raini village, which bore the brunt of the flash flood in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, four bodies and the remains of a fifth were recovered Tuesday.

It was a grim reminder of the deluge that destroyed the plant two days ago.

The area where a water tank and a residential block stood was completely flattened, and a suspension bridge washed away, leaving 13 villages till the China border inaccessible by road. And, fears that another flash flood could hit the area continued to keep residents on tenterhooks.

11:03 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Came under sharp attack as environment minister for stopping hydel projects in Uttarakhand: Jairam Ramesh

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday said he came under sharp attack as environment minister when he stopped hydel projects on rivers in Uttarakhand as the cumulative impact of the projects were not taken into consideration, PTI reported. 

His comments came two days after a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district, triggering an avalanche and a deluge in the Alaknanda river system that washed away hydroelectric stations and endangered lives of people living along the banks.

"As environment minister, I came under sharp attack for stopping hydel projects on Alaknanda, Bhagirathi and other rivers in Uttarakhand on ecological grounds. We weren't considering the cumulative impacts of these projects. I can't help but recall that now," he said on Twitter.

10:21 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Uttarakhand flash floods: Rescue officials try to re-establish contact with cut-off villages

As officers descended towards the Rishi Ganga bank in Raini village, they prayed they do not sink in the heavy sludge left behind by the flash floods that washed away the hydro power plant at the site.

Tense moments ensued, before a team of five people was finally able to make its way across the river, which at present is just a trickle. The mission was simple – to establish contact with villages that have been cut off from the rest of the Chamoli district by land. These 13 villages lead to the country’s border with China. A zip line is being set up to send emergency supplies and to bring people to the other side of the river in case of medical emergencies.

09:39 (IST)10 Feb 2021
Watch video: Rescue operations in Tapovan tunnel

A team ITBP, NDRF, SDRF & other agencies continued to conduct rescue operation inside Tapovan tunnel on the third day after flash floods hit Uttarakhand's Chamoli district on Wednesday. A meeting of all agencies including senior officials of ITBP, NDRF, Army & local administration has been called today to decide further course of action, news agency ANI reported.

Wacth video of the rescue operations being carried out: 

Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar told The Indian Express that they had managed to reach 130 metres into the Tapovan tunnel. (File photo)

On Tuesday, a helicopter with the device took several rounds of the affected area for an aerial survey. Officials said the device will help find air pockets inside the tunnel.

“The blocked area spotted in the images are likely to be slush. And the presence of air pockets will mean that our people may be trapped there and that we will have to get to that point,” said Manjunath P C, Commandant, Indian Reserve Battalion, who is coordinating the rescue operation at the tunnel site.

Manjunath said the presence of air pockets will help them ascertain how much more slush needs to be removed for their personnel to reach the trapped men.

ITBP ADG Manoj Singh Rawat said once the air pockets are spotted, the rescue operation will be planned accordingly. He said their first step would be to supply oxygen through the air pockets for people trapped inside. He added that technical experts were being engaged in the operation.

A glacial break in the Tapovan-Reni area of Chamoli District of Uttarakhand on Sunday led to massive flooding in Dhauli Ganga and Alaknanda Rivers, damaging houses and the nearby Rishiganga power project. Sources said there were 100 labourers on the barrage at Rishiganga of which at least 50 are feared dead. About 125 people are missing, according to the latest reports, even as seven bodies have been fished out.

The state government has announced financial assistance of Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of the deceased, Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat said.

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