Asia - Pacific, Environment

India: 26 dead as glacier bursts in Uttarakhand

Army, marine commandos deployed in rescue operation to find more than 170 missing people

Ahmad Adil   | 08.02.2021
India: 26 dead as glacier bursts in Uttarakhand File Photo

NEW DELHI

The death toll in northern India where a portion of a Himalayan glacier broke, leading to a massive flood Sunday, has reached 26, while 171 are still missing, a senior official said Monday evening.

A portion of Nanda Devi glacier, India's second-highest mountain, broke off in Tapovan in the Chamoli district in the Uttarakhand state, triggering flood and damaging the Rishiganga hydropower project.

Uttarakhand's Police Chief Ashok Kumar said as on Monday evening, a total of 26 bodies have been recovered in Tapovan. 

Kumar said that 171 people are still missing, out of which 35 people are presumed to be in a tunnel where a rescue operation is underway.

A massive rescue operation was launched Sunday with photos and videos shared on social media showing a massive flood and extensive damage to villages.

The Indian Air Force said Monday that "aerial rescue and relief missions have resumed." India airlifted specialized rescue teams, including special marine commandos, to join the operation, with authorities deploying the army in the rescue mission.

The missing are mostly laborers on power projects.

Satya Narayan Pradhan, the head of the National Disaster Response Force, said more teams have been enlisted.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday that he was “constantly monitoring the unfortunate situation” and later announced compensation to those injured and the families of those killed.

In 2013, massive floods in the state caused by a cloudburst caused the country's worst natural disaster since a tsunami in 2004 that killed 5,700 people.​​​​​​​

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