Uttarakhand glacier disaster: 14 dead, 170 missing; rescue operations on
At least 170 people went missing after a glacier broke off at Joshimath in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district on Sunday, triggering massive floods reminiscent of the 2013 tragedy. Fourteen people have 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. Here are more details.
Rishiganga hydropower project was 'washed away'
The first project to bear the brunt of the disaster was the 13.2 MW Rishiganga hydropower project, located in the upper stream of the Alaknanda river. The project was "washed away." Separately, the 520 MW Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower plant of state-run National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) was partially damaged. Pipal Koti, the project of state-owned THDC, and Jaypee Group's Vishnuprayag project were also affected.
Five bridges were damaged, construction work was affected
Reports claimed at least five bridges were damaged; two among them at the entrance of Malari Valley were "washed away." Naturally, construction work was bulldozed by the surge in water. However, the road connecting Joshimath and Tapovan remained intact. Of the 170 people missing, 148 were working at the NTPC plant and remaining in Rishiganga. NTPC said it was monitoring the situation closely.
Army deployed six columns, Navy's diving teams kept on standby
When the disaster struck, five NDRF teams were rushed to the ground zero but by last evening, three more teams were deployed. Teams from ITBP and SDRF were also mobilized. The Army sent six columns of 100 soldiers each, units from the Indian Air Force (IAF) were deployed as well, while diving units of the Navy have been kept on standby.
Rise in water level halted rescue operations
The massive rescue operations at the Tapovan project took a hit at 8 pm yesterday due to a sudden rise in water level in the Dhauli Ganga river. After the work restarted, one body was recovered. ITBP Spokesperson Vivek Pandey informed this morning that the operations have been intensified in the second tunnel, where 30 people are trapped. 300 jawans have been mobilized.
'More teams will be sent if required'
"ITBP rescued 12 people from a tunnel yesterday, these 30 are trapped in a different tunnel. Rescue operations are underway in different areas. More teams will be sent there if it is required, we are focusing on rescuing people from the tunnel first," Pandey added.
Meanwhile, a hospital has been readied at Joshimath
Acting instantly, the agencies readied a 30-bedded hospital in Joshimath, whereas few facilities in Srinagar, Rishikesh, Jollygrant, and Dehradun were kept on standby. After a review, the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) ruled out the possibility of downstream flooding and danger to villages. As per the information from the Central Water Commission (CWC), the rise in water level was contained.