SEVERE WX : Wind Advisory - High Wind Watch - Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

More than 150 missing and 14 dead as burst glacier triggers flash floods in India

At least 14 people are dead and more than 150 missing after a glacier burst in India's northern Uttarakha...

Posted: Feb 8, 2021 1:40 AM

At least 14 people are dead and more than 150 missing after a glacier burst in India's northern Uttarakhand state Sunday and crashed through two hydroelectric projects, triggering deadly flash floods along the river.

Footage of the disaster showed a fast-moving avalanche of dust, rock and water barreling through the narrow gorge in Chamoli district, in the Himalayan state, and sweeping away parts of a dam as well as buildings, trees and people in its path. Those living further down the river were urged to evacuate from the rising waters.

Rescue teams worked throughout the night to find survivors and recover bodies. Fifteen people trapped in a tunnel were rescued on Monday, according to Chamoli District Police, though rescuers are now focusing on a second tunnel which is blocked with debris.

Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said at a press conference Sunday that a tunnel at the state-owned NTPC hydro project was clogged with debris from the avalanche triggered by the glacial burst.

"Uttarakhand has witnessed a terrible disaster," Rawat said, adding that the state is expecting "significant loss to human lives and infrastructure."

Indian Army and members from India's National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been assisting rescue efforts, and more NDRF teams are being airlifted from New Delhi and expected to arrive on Monday.

Images from the NDRF showed teams trying to clear thick layers of mud and debris around the entrance to what appears to be a tunnel.

"This was a one-time incident. The glacier broke, and with it a portion on the mountain- boulders and debris all came down and flooded the power project here ... There are two locations here which have been damaged heavily," said Ashok Kumar, senior official with the Uttarakhand police to local reporters Monday morning.

From the two projects, a total of 153 people are missing, he added.

The avalanche completely inundated the Rishiganga Power project -- a smaller hydroelectric dam on the river in Chamoli. Those living alongside the Alaknanda River were urged to flee to safety, but stay calm.

The minister said of the total 35 people working at the plant, "roughly 29 to 30 people are missing."

Flash floods then surged 5 kilometers downstream on the Dhauli Ganga river and impacted a much larger hydro project owned by the NTPC, Rawat said. Some 176 laborers were working on that project, which has two tunnels, the minister said.

"Roughly 15 people" managed to get out of one tunnel after getting word of the avalanche on their mobile devices, Rawat said, adding that 35 to 50 workers had been rescued and returned to the NTPC plant.

Workers could be trapped in tunnels

More than 30 workers could be stuck in the second tunnel, he warned. Rescuers are battling to reach them but the surrounding road is covered in debris.

The Chief Minister also announced a compensation of four lakh Indian Rupees ($5,495.39 USD) for the families of those deceased.

A witness told Reuters that an avalanche of dust, rock and water cascaded down the Dhauli Ganga river valley located more than 500 km (310 miles) north of New Delhi.

"It came very fast, there was no time to alert anyone," Sanjay Singh Rana, who lives on the upper reaches of the river in Raini village in Uttarakhand, told Reuters by phone. "I felt that even we would be swept away."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a message of support in the wake of the disaster. "Am constantly monitoring the unfortunate situation in Uttarakhand," he tweeted.

"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."

Uttarakhand state is home to the source of the Ganges River, the site of Hinduism's famous Char Dham pilgrimage and Rishikesh, the meditation retreat popularized by The Beatles. But the area is also prone to flash floods and landslides -- in 2013, the state was hit by what was dubbed by the area's chief minister as a "Himalayan tsunami."

Nearly 6,000 people lost their lives those floods, according to Reuters.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 348766

Reported Deaths: 4161
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah54797689
Washington37988313
Marion36055444
Clackamas29094304
Lane26966298
Jackson22632300
Deschutes19577123
Umatilla14241144
Linn12380120
Douglas11795240
Josephine9233195
Yamhill8517110
Klamath7709110
Polk715380
Malheur551574
Benton529130
Coos489691
Columbia371343
Jefferson361450
Union313146
Lincoln310638
Wasco281540
Crook274745
Clatsop239529
Baker198028
Tillamook193328
Hood River188337
Morrow181623
Curry178122
Harney108424
Grant97612
Lake89011
Wallowa67012
Gilliam1484
Sherman1463
Wheeler991
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4812309

Reported Deaths: 70616
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147679126410
Riverside3693444990
San Diego3646344163
San Bernardino3563155566
Orange3227415518
Sacramento1576212279
Santa Clara1445181890
Kern1441461605
Fresno1441232051
Alameda1198871374
San Joaquin1018071708
Ventura1005241164
Contra Costa99234982
Stanislaus851571315
Tulare78945951
San Francisco54031645
San Mateo53828622
Monterey50696582
Solano45761334
Santa Barbara44836521
Merced41781577
Sonoma40711402
Placer38902415
Imperial35642764
Kings32369314
San Luis Obispo29653329
Madera23518281
Butte23364260
Shasta23360334
Santa Cruz20861218
Yolo20147247
Marin17581243
El Dorado16960149
Sutter13775169
Napa12808100
Yuba994282
Tehama9298104
Humboldt9102108
Nevada903990
Mendocino752786
Lassen746346
San Benito737372
Tuolumne673993
Lake6506104
Amador537264
Siskiyou442742
Glenn430330
Calaveras381780
Del Norte356141
Colusa301718
Inyo196739
Mono16445
Plumas15756
Mariposa127315
Trinity86011
Modoc6698
Unassigned1860
Sierra1760
Alpine1020
Out of CA00
Medford
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 45°
Brookings
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 46°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 45°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 45°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 29°
Winds pick up Tuesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events