Updated: February 7, 2021 6:40:12 pm
Over 50 people are feared dead after a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke of on Sunday morning near Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, triggering massive flash floods in the Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers. At least 8-10 bodies have been recovered from the rivers so far, ANI reported.
Rescue and evacuation operations are presently underway and the surrounding districts, including Pauri, Tehri, Rudraprayag, Haridwar and Dehradun, were put on high alert. “A disaster was reported at Raini village at around 1045 am, affecting two dam sites in Chamoli. Immediate instructions were issued to take stock of the situation and take emergency measures,” Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat tweeted earlier today.
कर्णप्रयाग में आज ३ बज कर १० मिनट पर नदी में पानी की बहाव की स्थिति से साफ़ है कि बाढ़ की सम्भावना बहुत ही कम है। हमारा विशेष ध्यान सुरंगों में फँसे श्रमिकों को बचाने में है और हम सभी प्रयास कर रहे हैं। किसी भी समस्या से निपटने के सभी ज़रूरी प्रयास कर लिए गये हैं। #Uttarakhand pic.twitter.com/MrEjW4de05
— Trivendra Singh Rawat (@tsrawatbjp) February 7, 2021
Footage of the disaster shows water gushing towards a damn in Uttarakhand and destroying everything along the way. Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Om Prakash has said the the death toll is feared to be between 100 and 150, adding that a red alert has been issued, ANI reported.
Rishinganga power project damaged, workers feared dead
Around 150 labourers working at the Rishiganga power project are feared missing as they may have been directly affected by the disaster, State Disaster Response Force DIG Ridhim Aggarwal told news agency PTI. “Representatives of the power project have told me that they are not being able to contact around 150 of their workmen at the project site,” she said.
Meanwhile, over a dozen workers who were trapped in an under-construction tunnel near Tapovan, Chamoli were rescued by the Indo Tibetan Border Police personnel, ANI reported.
— ANI (@ANI) February 7, 2021
Several houses located along the river bank have been washed away in the Uttarakhand flash floods.
Soon after the incident took place, India scrambled to deploy rescue and evacuation teams in the effected areas. Teams of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), around 600 Indian Army personnel, and a team of 250 ITPB personnel are carrying out rescue operations in the flood-affected areas, officials said. Army choppers have also been deployed to support the government’s operations.
An Indian Navy diving team is also on standby, according to ANI. “We are working to airlift three-four more teams from the Hindon IAF base near Delhi,” National Disaster Relief Force Director General SN Pradhan told PTI.
‘Closely monitoring the situation in Uttarakhand,’ says PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that he is closely reviewing the crisis unfolding in Uttarakhand, and is in close contact with Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and other top officials.
“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,” the Prime Minister tweeted.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, too, tweeted stating that he was closely reviewing the situation. “All the concerned officers are working on a war footing to secure the people. NDRF teams have left for rescue operations. Every possible help will be provided to Devbhoomi,” he wrote.
उत्तराखंड में प्राकृतिक आपदा की सूचना के सम्बंध में मैंने मुख्यमंत्री @tsrawatbjp जी, DG ITBP व DG NDRF से बात की है। सभी सम्बंधित अधिकारी लोगों को सुरक्षित करने में युद्धस्तर पर काम कर रहे हैं। NDRF की टीमें बचाव कार्य के लिए निकल गयी हैं। देवभूमि को हर सम्भव मदद दी जाएगी।
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) February 7, 2021
‘Do not pay attention to rumours,’ says Uttarakhand CM
Amid the disaster in Uttarakhand, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat appealed to people not to spread rumours by sharing old flood videos. He cancelled all his scheduled programmes to help oversee rescue and evacuation operations in the state.
UP on high alert
The Uttar Pradesh government has asked all authorities in districts on the banks of the Ganga river to be on high alert and monitor water levels following the flash floods in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district.
“Report of breaking of a part of Nandadevi Glacier in Uttarakhand has been received. The districts on the Ganga river (banks) need to be on a high alert and the monitoring of water level needs to be done 24×7. If required, the people need to be evacuated,” a disaster alert issued by the Relief Commissioner read.
Meanwhile, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that his state would offer “all possible help” to tackle the natural disaster in Uttarakhand.
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