Hundreds missing after massive glacier burst triggers flooding that washes away hydropower projects and bridges
At least 18 people are dead and more than 200 have been reported missing so far after a Himalayan glacier collapsed and unleashed a devastating flood in northern India’s Uttarakhand state, with rescue operations still underway.
The flood was triggered on Sunday morning after debris from the glacier collapse burst open a dam and flooded a valley, destroying bridges, roads and two hydroelectric power plants in Uttarakhand, near India’s border with Tibet, an area which is prone to flash floods and landslides.
Dramatic video shared online by rescuers showed construction workers reaching for the heavens as they were pulled from narrow, muddy tunnels where they had been trapped by the flood.
Officials said more than 300 members of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have been deployed to the mountainous area, along with paramilitary forces and military helicopters, for the rescue operation.
“Rescue operations to save at least 30 people who are stranded at a tunnel near Tapovan Dam in Chamoli district is underway while 12 people have already been rescued from another tunnel,” police spokesperson Vivek Pandey was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The bodies of 18 people have been recovered so far, officials said on Monday afternoon. “As of now, around 203 people are missing,” state chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said.
“Everything was swept away, people, cattle and trees,” Sangram Singh Rawat, a former village council member of Raini, the site closest to the Rishiganga project, told local media.
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