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Uttarakhand glacier burst updates: At least 30 workers trapped in tunnel, rescue efforts on, says official

Uttarakhand glacier burst LIVE updates: Around 30 to 35 people including workers and employees of the 480 mw Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project on the Dhauli Ganga river are feared trapped inside one of the tunnels following the avalanche, project GM RP Ahirwar said

FP Staff February 07, 2021 23:48:47 IST
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Uttarakhand glacier burst updates: At least 30 workers trapped in tunnel, rescue efforts on, says official

This frame grab from video provided by KK Productions shows a massive flood of water, mud and debris flowing at Chamoli District after a portion of Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Tapovan area of the northern state of Uttarakhand on Sunday. AP

Highlights

18:33 (ist)

Seven bodies recovered so far, says Trivendra Singh Rawat

According to the Hindu, Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat in a press briefing said that seven bodies have been recovered so far after a glacier burst triggered flash floods. 

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Feb 07, 2021 - 23:45 (IST)

30-35 workers trapped in tunnel, rescue efforts on

Rescue efforts are on to extricate 30 to 35 workers trapped in a tunnel of the Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project on the Dhauli Ganga river, following an avalanche triggered by a glacial burst near Joshimath in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, an official said late Sunday night.

Around 30 to 35 people including workers and employees of the 480 mw Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project on the Dhauli Ganga river are feared trapped inside one of the tunnels following the avalanche, Project GM RP Ahirwar said.

JCBs and Pokland machines are being used to cut into the debris clogging the tunnel to rescue the trapped workers, he said. Efforts are being made on priority to save as many lives as possible, he said.

Feb 07, 2021 - 23:10 (IST)

Work will continue through night: Indian Army

Feb 07, 2021 - 23:04 (IST)

Tranquil morning turns into tragedy

It was a tranquil winter morning in Raini village until the residents were jolted around 10 am on Sunday by a loud sound and the sight of huge torrents of water and sludge in the Rishi Ganga river hurtling towards them.

"Before we could make out what was happening, the raging muddy waters of Rishi Ganga had devastated the landscape," says 50-year-old Dharam Singh, a resident of the village.

The scenes brought back to the people horrifying memories of the 2013 Kedarnath deluge that killed thousands. Many were feared swept away in the sudden floods on Sunday including those who were working near the river.

Three residents of the village including a 75-year-old woman identified as Amrita Devi who had gone out to work in her field close to the bridge on Rishi Ganga are missing since the avalanche struck after the Nanda Devi glacier burst.

Feb 07, 2021 - 22:51 (IST)

Trust only reliable sources, tweets Uttarakhand Police

Taking to Twitter, the Uttarakhand Police said misleading news was being posted on social media regarding the rise in water levels in Joshimath. The police requested the public to ignore such rumours and trust only reliable sources.

Feb 07, 2021 - 22:45 (IST)

Army, IAF deploy teams

The Indian Air Force and the Indian Army on Sunday swang into action as part of a multi-agency rescue operation in Uttarakhand's Chamoli region as it was reeling under a massive flood triggered by a glacier burst at Joshimath, officials said. They said the army deployed around 400 personnel in rescue operations besides sending two medical teams to affected areas.

One engineering task force of the army was also deployed in Ringi village in Joshimath and a control room has been set up in the area, they said.

Feb 07, 2021 - 22:40 (IST)

Glaciologists will head to Joshimath-Tapavan tomorrow

 

Two teams of glaciologists will head to Joshimath-Tapovan on Monday to study the causes of massive flood caused after a part of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Uttarakhand''s Chamoli district, the director of the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology said.

Kalachand Sain said two teams of glaciologists, one with two members and other with three members, will leave Dehradun on Monday morning. The Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, under the aegis of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), studies various aspects of the Himalayas, including the glaciers and seismic activities in the region.

It had also conducted studies on the 2013 flash floods in Uttarakhand that killed nearly 5,000 people. "The teams will study the reasons behind the incident. Our teams will be looking into different aspects of glaciology," Sain said, adding that it is too early to comment on the development.

Sain added that Sunday's incident was quite "peculiar" as there was no rain or melting of snow.

Feb 07, 2021 - 22:34 (IST)

State department offers condolences

Feb 07, 2021 - 22:33 (IST)

Emmanuel Macron expresses solidarity with India

 

French president Emmanuel Macron on Sunday expressed France's full solidarity with India in the wake of a glacier burst at Joshimath in Uttarakhand''s Chamoli district that triggered a massive flood in the region.

"France expresses its full solidarity with India, after a glacier burst in the Uttarakhand province, leading to the disappearance of over 100 people. Our thoughts are with them and their families," Macron said on Twitter.

Feb 07, 2021 - 21:30 (IST)

Water level in Dhauliganga river was at record high after avalanche, says govt

The water level of the Dhauliganga river at Joshimath flowed at a perilously high level, breaching all records on Sunday, Central Water Commission officials said.

"At 11 am, the water level recorded at Joshimath was 1,388 metres," Central Water Commission chairperson Saumitra Haldar was quoted as saying by PTI.

During the 2013 Uttarakhand flash floods, the highest flood level (HFL) at Joshimath was 1,385.54 metres, he added.

Feb 07, 2021 - 21:16 (IST)

Sonia Gandhi tells all Congress to help affected people in Uttarakhand

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday urged all party workers and volunteers to help the people hit by a massive glacier break-off in Uttarakhand's Joshimath in the relief and rescue efforts.

In a statement, the Congress chief expressed concern over the news of glacier breaking off in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district, triggering an avalanche and a deluge in the Alaknanda river system that washed away hydroelectric stations, leaving at least seven people dead and 125 missing who are feared dead.

"I pray for the safety of all and request Congress workers and volunteers to help people and authorities in their relief and rescue efforts. The Indian National Congress stands with the people of Uttarakhand in this hour of tragedy and crisis," she said.

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Uttarakhand glacier burst LIVE updates: Around 30 to 35 people including workers and employees of the 480 mw Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project on the Dhauli Ganga river are feared trapped inside one of the tunnels following the avalanche, project GM RP Ahirwar said

The Indian Army on Twitter said the colummns were working continuously to rescue people trapped in the longer tunnel and that work will continue through the night.

Taking to Twitter, the Uttarakhand Police said misleading news was being posted on social media regarding the rise in water levels in Joshimath. The police requested the public to ignore such rumours and trust only reliable sources.

Two teams of glaciologists will head to Joshimath-Tapovan on Monday to study causes behind flood, an official told PTI. At least seven people have been left deed and 125 more missing after a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off and triggered a deluge.

 The water level of the Dhauli Ganga river at Joshimath flowed at a perilously high level, breaching all records, Central Water Commission officials said after a part of Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district leading to massive floods.

The glacial burst triggered an avalanche and a deluge in the Alaknanda river system that washed away hydroelectric stations and trapped more than 100 labourers who are feared dead. The intensity of the river's flow in a short span of time was such that it engulfed whatever came in its way.

This was a grim reminder of the Kedarnath deluge of 2013 which led to widespread devastation in the ecologically fragile Himalayan region.

"At 11 am, the water level recorded at Joshimath was 1,388 metres," Saumitra Haldar, Chairman, Central Water Commission told PTI.

During the 2013 Uttarakhand flash floods, the highest flood level (HFL) at Joshimath was 1,385.54 metres, he added.

Around 200 MW of power supply to the national grid was affected due to avalanche in Uttarakhand as local administration shut down two plants, Tehri and Koteshwar, as a precautionary measure.

The hydro power plants in the affected area are mostly under-construction or fall in small hydro project category which are of up to 25MW. These small hydro projects are mainly state-owned.

Earlier in the day, a glacier broke off in Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district which caused a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river and endangered lives of people living along its banks.

It is reported that massive destruction is feared and many people were missing after the disaster.

An official on the condition of anonymity told PTI, "The local authorities have shut two power plants- Tehri and Koteshwar as a precautionary measure in view of the disaster. This has affected the overall power supply of not more than 200 MW to the national grid."

Of the 150 labourers feared missing or dead after the flash foods in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district, 16 had been rescued as of Sunday evening, PTI reported.

They were rescued from the NTPC’s Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project, which was one of the projects affected by the flash flood that occured after a glacier burst in the area. The other affected project is the Rishi Ganga Hydel Project.

Both were extensively damaged with scores of labourers trapped in tunnels as the waters came rushing in.

A 13.2 MW small hydro project on the Rishiganga river was swept away in the glacier burst in Uttarakhand on Sunday, but there is no danger of floods in the downstream areas as the water level has been contained.

This was conveyed to the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, at an emergency meeting held on Sunday evening.

According to reports, Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat in a press briefing said that seven bodies have been recovered so far after a glacier burst triggered flash floods. The chief minister said that 125 persons were estimated to be missing and five locals were reported to have been swept away.

The chief minister also announced Rs four lakh financial assistance to families of each of the deceased.

According to the Prime Minister's Office, Prime Minister Narednra Modi has approved Rs two lakh ex-gratia to the families of those who died in the  tragic avalanche caused by a glacier breach in Chamoli. Rs 50,000 would be given to those seriously injured.

Atleast 12 persons have been rescued from an open tunnel by ITBP personnel said reports. adding that efforts are on to rescue the remaining.

 The Uttar Pradesh government has  asked authorities in all districts on the banks of river Ganga to be on high alert and continuously monitor the water level after a glacier broke off at Joshimath in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district.

The glacier burst triggered a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river and caused large-scale devastation in the upper reaches of the ecologically fragile Himalaya.

As per reports, the ITBP DG said that it was suspected that around 100 workers were at the site  and 9-10 bodies have been recovered so far. Search operations are underway, he added.

A section of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off in the Joshimath area of Uttarakhand's Chamoli district. It has caused massive flooding in the Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers, reports said on Sunday.

Three people have been reported dead, as per latest reports.

PTI quoted ITBP spokesperson Vivek Kumar Pandey as saying, "More than 100 labourers working at a barrage and 50 plus working at a tunnel are feared dead or missing as per the site in-charge of Tapovan and the local administration. Three bodies have been recovered till now
Teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the State Disaster Response Force, and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police have been deployed for rescue and relief operations."

Several districts, including Pauri, Tehri, Rudraprayag, Haridwar, and Dehradun, have been put on high alert. NDTV reported that the state government has ordered the emergency evacuation of people in the immediate areas.

No flood situation anywhere currently: CM

Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, who said he will visit the affected site later on Sunday, tweeted at 1.21 pm on Sunday that the level of water in the Alaknand river is decreasing.

"The reassuring news is that the flow of Alaknanda River beyond Nandprayag has become normal. The water level of the river is now 1 meter above normal but the flow is decreasing. The state chief secretary, disaster secretary, police officer and all my team are constantly monitoring the situation in the disaster control room," he said.

Rawat also appealed to people to refrain from spreading rumours with old flood videos. "I am visiting the site myself. I request everyone not to spread panic by sharing any old videos. All necessary steps have been taken to deal with the situation," he tweeted.

At 2.42 pm, Rawat posted an update saying,

News18 has quoted Union Power Minister RK Singh as saying that 16 staffers of the NTPC were caught in a tunnel, and that contact has now been established with them. "At a second location, 45 people have been trapped. Tunnels are blocked by debris. Indo-Tibetan Border Police and Garhwal Rifle personnel are trying to open the tunnel and rescue the people," Singh was further quoted as saying.

In a video shared by News18, ITBP personnel can be seen attempting to open a tunnel blocked by debris.

India stands with Uttarakhand, says Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah said that they are monitoring the situation.

Shah said that teams of the NDRF, SDRF, and ITBP will work on "war footing" to rescue affected people.

Soon after the incident, the Chamoli Police tweeted saying, "The public is informed that the Rishiganga power project has been damaged due to glaciers in the Tapovan Raini area, which has caused the river's water level to rise. The people living along the Alaknanda River are warned to leave the area."

The Uttar Pradesh government also issued a high alert for areas along the Ganga river. The government has asked authorities in all districts on the banks of the Ganga to continuously monitor the water level.

In a disaster alert issued to all the district magistrates in Uttar Pradesh, the Relief Commissioner said in a statement, "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, people need to be evacuated."

With inputs from PTI

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