Uttarakhand glacier burst: A tranquil morning turned into tragedy
(Sourced from PTI)
It was a tranquil morning in Raini village until the residents were jolted at around 10 am on Sunday by the sight of huge torrents of water and sludge in the Rishiganga river hurtling toward them. Many are feared to have swept away in the sudden floods. The scenes brought back the horrifying memories of the 2013 Kedarnath deluge that killed thousands.
"Before we could make out what was happening, the raging muddy waters of Rishiganga had devastated the landscape," says 50-year-old Dharam Singh, a resident of the village. Dharam Singh of Raini said as the deluge came gurgling loudly it sent a chill down the spine of people living in the area who find it hard to forget the 2013 tragedy.
Umeli Devi, 34, who had come from Nepal to work in the Rishiganga hydel project said, "Ten of my colleagues had been swept away in the avalanche. Male members of my family who worked as laborers in the power project are all missing."
Three residents of the village including a 75-year-old woman, Amrita Devi, who had gone out to work in her field close to the bridge on Rishi Ganga, are missing. Others missing include Yashpal Singh who grazes livestock and Ranjit Singh who worked in the hydel project. The forest area of Nanda Devi National Park has also suffered great devastation due to the avalanche.
The avalanche destroyed the Rishiganga hydel project commissioned in 2020. A major motorable bridge on the main border road was also washed away. Some ancient temples built about 20 meters above the confluence of Rishiganga and Dhauli Ganga rivers have also been swept away. Sanjay Singh of Juwa Gwan village who had gone out to graze his goats is also missing.
At least 170 people are reported missing after the glacier broke off at Joshimath in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district on Sunday, triggering massive floods. 14 people reportedly died. Personnel from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Uttarkhand's State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), and the Indian Army remained engaged in rescue operations overnight.