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Around 150 missing after glacier burst in north India, rescue operation underway

2021 Feb 07, 15:51, New Delhi
This frame grab from video provided by KK Productions shows a massive flood of water, mud and debris flowing at Chamoli District after a portion of Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Tapovan area of the northern state of Uttarakhand, India, Sunday, February 7, 2021. (Photo via AP)

Around 150 people have gone missing in India's northern hilly state of Uttarakhand after a huge glacier burst resulting in a heavy floods-like situation in the affected areas Sunday, local media quoted state's Chief Secretary Om Prakash as saying.

Most of the people missing are said to be laborers working at the Rishiganga power project in the state and local residents, according to private news agency Asian News International.

The Indian Navy and the Indian Army have been put on alert for carrying out the relief and rescue work in the affected areas.

The disaster reportedly struck at around 10:00 a.m. (Indian Standard Time) on Sunday.

"Parts of the Rishiganga power project have been damaged as a result of the glacier burst," confirmed Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat while speaking to local media.

Declining to confirm the number of human casualties in the tragedy, Rawat said, "I have briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister (Internal Security) Amit Shah about the natural disaster. A high alert has been sounded in the affected areas."

"(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," tweeted Modi.

Modi is currently touring the north-eastern state of Assam. "He took stock of the rescue and relief work underway. Authorities are working to provide all possible support to the affected," said a tweet by the Prime Minister Office.

According to media reports, a large number of laborers working at the Rishiganga power project were washed away.

As an aftermath of the disaster, the heavy floods-like situation has emerged in the affected areas, and efforts are being made to stop the water flow into the local rivers and tributaries in the downstream areas.

According to the Director-General of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) S.N. Pradhan, a hydropower project has been damaged in the natural tragedy.

"Four rescue and relief teams of the NDRF are being flown to the area from Delhi. The teams will first land in Uttarakhand capital Dehradun, from where they will be further airlifted to the affected areas," he added.

Meanwhile, the federal home ministry (internal security) is keeping a continuous watch over the situation.


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