Uttarakhand floods: 26 bodies recovered, 171 still missing, says police
Over a day since a sudden glacier burst caused the Dhauliganga river in Uttarakhand to flood, 26 dead bodies have been recovered, authorities said. The incident occurred in the state's Chamoli district in Reni village on Sunday morning and experts are still investigating the cause. Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a key meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttarakhand MPs over the incident.
Uttarakhand Director General of Police (DGP) Ashok Kumar said in a tweet on Monday, "Final number of dead body recovered in Tapovan till 8 p.m. on 8th February is 26." "171 people still remain missing out of which around 35 are supposed to be in the Tunnel where rescue operation is still going on," the DGP added.
Final number of dead body recovered in Tapovan till 8 p.m. on 8th February is 26. 171 people still remain missing out of which around 35 are supposed to be in the Tunnel where rescue operation is still going on.@DDNewslive @ANI @aajtak @ZeeNews @ABPNews @htTweets @timesofindia— Ashok Kumar IPS (@Ashokkumarips) February 8, 2021
On Sunday morning, the water in Dhauliganga river suddenly rose causing major damage to homes on the river's banks and also washing away the Rishiganga dam on the Alaknanda river. According to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)—one of the agencies investigating the incident—the sudden flooding occurred after a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off in the Tapovan area of Joshimath.
Dr. LK Sinha of the DRDO said, "It looks that a hanging glacier broke away from the main glacier and came down in the narrow valley. In the valley, it formed a lake that burst later and caused the damage."
A multi-agency operation including Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is underway to rescue people stuck in tunnels. The forces have cleared a 90-meter stretch of debris at a big tunnel in Tapovan, and 100 meters remain to be cleared. Uttarakhand Chief Minister held a meeting with ITBP, NDRF, SDRF, Uttarakhand Police, and other agencies to review rescue efforts.
Rawat also visited Chamoli district on Monday, saying that saving lives was their first priority. On Sunday, he had announced Rs. 4 lakh financial assistance for the families of those killed in the mishap. PM Modi is in constant touch with the state government, Rawat said, adding that the state government is providing ration kits to those displaced from their homes.