India – Dozens Feared Missing After Floods in Uttarakhand

Update: Police in Uttarakhand reported on 08 February 2021 that about 202 people have been reported missing in yesterday’s accident, while the bodies of 19 have been recovered from different places.

Original report: Dozens of people are feared missing after a Himalayan glacier broke and smashed into dams in the state of Uttarakhand, northern India, early on 07 February 2021.

Media in India reported that a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off causing floods that destroyed the Rishiganga hydropower project near Raini village and a dam under-construction on the river Dhauliganga near Tapovan. Many of those missing are thought to be workers from the construction site and residents of nearby villages.

Owners of the Tapovan dam, power company NTPC Limited said: “An avalanche near Tapovan in Uttarakhand has damaged a part of our under construction hydropower project in the region. While rescue operation is on, situation is being monitored continuously with the help of district administration and police.”

Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) said 3 bodies have been recovered near the Tapovan dam. ITBP and local police carried out the rescue of people trapped inside a tunnel near the construction site. Three teams and more than 250 ITBP personnel were deployed in the rescue mission.

The Indian Army has deployed helicopters and around 600 troops for supporting Uttarakhand government, ITBP and State and National Disaster Response Force.

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, said: “I am constantly monitoring the unfortunate situation in Uttarakhand. India stands with Uttarakhand and the nation prays for everyone’s safety there. Have been continuously speaking to senior authorities and getting updates on NDRF deployment, rescue work and relief operations.”

Recently a study by scientists at the University of Oxford and the University of Washington directly linked human-induced climate change to the risk of flooding from glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF) in particular in Peru.

Uttarakhand is the location of one of India’s worst natural disasters when torrential rainfall in June 2013 led to devastating floods that left almost 6,000 people dead.

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