In an unfortunate incident, a glacial burst near Joshimath on Sunday triggered an avalanche and flooding along the Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district.
The gushing water has damaged houses along the river bank and the Rishiganga power project, with the administration fearing 100 to 150 deaths due to the flash flood. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the area.
Meanwhile, the government informed that water flow in Alaknanda has become normal past Nandprayag. The water level of the river is now 1-metre above normal, but the flow is decreasing. Top government officials including the chief secretary, disaster secretary and police officials are monitoring the situation in the disaster control room.
Rescue and relief operations
Five National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams—one from Dehradun and four from Delhi, as well as two from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), have been deployed for search-and-rescue operations, with authorities fearing hundreds may still be stuck.
Around 200 State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel have also been deployed.
India stands with Uttarakhand: PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Assam to campaign for Assembly elections, has said he is reviewing the situation and has spoken to Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and other top officials.
“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,” PM Modi tweeted.
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.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 7, 2021
Union home minister Amit Shah also tweeted and said he too had spoken to Uttarakhand CM on the issue.
“In relation to the natural disaster in Uttarakhand, Chief Minister TS Rawat and I have spoken to the director-generals of the ITBP and NDRF. All concerned officers and organisations are working on a war footing to ensure people are safe. NDRF teams have left for rescue ops and all possible help will be provided,” the home minister said.
उत्तराखंड में प्राकृतिक आपदा की सूचना के सम्बंध में मैंने मुख्यमंत्री @tsrawatbjp जी, DG ITBP व DG NDRF से बात की है। सभी सम्बंधित अधिकारी लोगों को सुरक्षित करने में युद्धस्तर पर काम कर रहे हैं। NDRF की टीमें बचाव कार्य के लिए निकल गयी हैं। देवभूमि को हर सम्भव मदद दी जाएगी।
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) February 7, 2021
Meanwhile, the CM has asked people not to panic or spread rumours, and stressed that the district administration, the police and disaster response teams were dealing with the situation.
“Do not pay attention to any kind of rumors. The government is taking all necessary steps,” he tweeted Sunday morning, adding that he was on his way to survey affected regions.
Flow from Tehri dam was stopped to facilitate smooth passage of rising waters on RishiGanga & Alaknanda. All the villages & low lying areas on the banks were vacated & water flow from Srinagar dam was increased to manage higher water flows due to disaster #Uttarakhand
— Trivendra Singh Rawat (@tsrawatbjp) February 7, 2021
Power project staff missing
Over 150 labourers working at the Rishiganga power project, which was hit by floods, are missing, SDRF DIG Ridhim Aggarwal said.
“Representatives of the power project have told me that they are not being able to contact around 150 of their workmen at the project site,” she said.
Authorities also fear for the safety of labourers employed at ongoing road and rail projects in the area.
An alert has been sounded for all downstream districts, and people from Vishnuprayag, Joshimath, Karnprayag, Rudraprayag, Rishikesh and Haridwar have been warned against visiting river banks. Rafting has been put on hold in Rishikesh.
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