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

FP Staff
·8-min read


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

Also See: Uttarakhand glacier burst leaves 7 dead, 125 missing; efforts on to rescue 30 trapped in tunnel, say officials

Uttarakhand glacier burst: Toll rises to 10 as rescuers pull out three more bodies; 143 people still missing

Glacier break in Uttarakhand's Chamoli causes flash floods; 7 dead, homes swept away, two projects damaged

Read more on India by Firstpost.