JNS: At least seven people have died and over 170 are feared missing after a glacier break at Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district triggered massive flooding of the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers on Sunday.
The water level in the rivers rose suddenly after an avalanche was reported near the Rishiganga power project, sources said. Many villages were evacuated as floods swept away five bridges, damaged homes and the nearby NTPC power plant, and washed away a small hydropower project near Rishiganga.
According to the reports, the incident was reported from Reni village in the Tapovan area of Chamoli district. State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) DIG Ridhim Aggarwal said that more than 150 labourers working at the power project may have been directly affected.
Several districts, including Pauri, Tehri, Rudraprayag, Haridwar and Dehradun, are likely to be affected and have been put on high alert, sources said.
Meanwhile, rescue and relief operations are in full swing in Chamoli district. The State Disaster Management Authority, Dehradun says that seven bodies have been recovered so far from Raini, Biraji, Alakapuri and Chchinaka villages. Out of 150 reported missing people, twelve persons have been rescued so far.
According to the media reports, the flash flood due to the avalanche has destroyed houses situated at the river bank side. Five bridges have been damaged along with the residential and office complex of NTPC.
The water level of Alaknanda river has stabilized. Teams of NDRF, SDRF, SSB, ITBP, and Defense personnel are actively participating in the rescue and relief operations. The Indian Air Force has also deployed its Choppers for rescue operations. Two Army Helicopters are also kept on standby.
Indo Tibetan Border Police Force spokesperson Vivek Pandey said that more than 200 Javans are working in collaboration with local administration. Four Army columns, two Medical teams, and one Engineering Task Force have been deployed in Tapovan area.
Though the impact of the disaster may not be felt in Rishikesh and Haridwar, the towns have been put on vigilant.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat took stock of the situation after reaching near Raini village in Tapovan.
Talking to reporters, Rawat said that the water level has receded and the Center is in constant touch with him and has assured all possible help in rescue operations.
The state government has issued helpline numbers for people stranded in affected areas—1070 or 9557444486.