Glacial burst causes floods as swept away a hydroelectric dam in Indian Himalayan region
Authorities confirmed three people have died, while 150 are missing, reports media
Witnesses said the village flooded very quickly, so there was no time for authorities to alert anyone.
NEW DELHI: Three people died, while up to 150 others were missing in India after a Himalayan glacier broke. Also swept away a hydroelectric dam on Sunday. According to media reports, the floods forced downstream villages to flee.
“The actual number has not confirmed yet, but 100 to 150 people are afraid of dying,” Om Prakash, secretary general of Utarakhand, told media.
An eye witness reported walls of dust, rock and water when an avalanche occurred in the Dhauli Ganges Valley, more than 500 km north of New Delhi.
“It came very quickly, there was no time to warn anyone,” said Sanjay Singh, lives upstream in Raini village. “I feel like even we will swept away.”
Uttarakhand Police Chief Ashok Kumar told reporters that more than 50 people working on the dam, the Rishiganga Hydroelectric Project, were afraid of death, although several others were rescued. Kumar also said authorities had evacuated another dam to fetch water from the flooded Alakananda River.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was following the situation closely.
“India supports Uttarakhand and the country prays for the safety of everyone there”. He said on social media after speaking with Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat.
After glacial burst causes floods. The Indian Air Force stands ready to assist with rescue operations, the government said, while Interior Minister Amit Shah said a disaster relief team had called by air to assist with rescue and rescue. Army troops have deployed and helicopters are conducting aerial reconnaissance of the area.
The neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, has been wary of its riverside areas.
Footage shared by locals shows water washing over parts of the Rishiganga Dam and everything along the road.
The social media video showed water flowing through a small area of the dam washing construction equipment.
“At the moment, no additional water flows has reported and there is no flooding anywhere,” Prime Minister Rawat said in a tweet. “There are no reports of casualties from villages along Alaknanda.”
Uttarakhand in the Himalayas is prone to flash floods and landslides. Record rain in June 2013 caused devastating floods, killing nearly 6,000 people.
This disaster called the “Himalayan Tsunami” because the mountainous region stirred by a current of water that sent mud and crushed rock, burying houses, sweeping buildings, roads and bridges.
Uma Bharti, a former Indian water minister and senior leader of the Modi party, criticized the development of energy projects in the region.
“When I was minister, I wanted the Himalayas to be a very sensitive place, so energy projects should not be built on the Ganga River and its all main tributaries,” she said on social media, referring to the main river that flows from the mountain.
Environmental experts have called for a major hydropower project in the state to be suspended.
“This disaster once again requires serious control over dam building in this environmentally sensitive region,” said Ranjan Panda. He is a volunteer in the fight against the climate network, which deals with water, the environment and climate change.
“Administrations should no longer ignore expert warnings and stop building dam projects and extensive road networks in this breakable ecosystem.”