An avalanche was reported in Uttarakhand’s Raini village in Tapovan area on Sunday. It was caused after a part of a glacier broke at Joshimath in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district.
The avalanche was soon followed by a massive rise of water levels in the Dhauliganga river, which resulted in several houses being destroyed in the area.
After the National Crisis Management Committee meeting, the spokesperson said that the glacial burst also washed away Rishiganga small hydro project of 13.2 MW.
Massive #flood in #DhauliGanga, Joshimath seen near Reni village, where some water body above flooded and destroyed many river bankside houses due to some cloudburst, casualties feared, @ITBP_official rushed for rescue pic.twitter.com/aQphYQuIcH— DD News (@DDNewslive) February 7, 2021
Sixteen men were rescued safely from a tunnel in the Tapovan project but about 125 were still missing. As night fell in the ecologically fragile Himalayas and rescue work in the difficult to access areas became more difficult, there were fears they may be dead.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to assure one and all in Uttarakhand and said that he was constantly monitoring the situation.
“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,” 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
Home Minister Amit Shah also took stock of the situation as he assured the Uttarakhand chief minister of all possible help.
“The Central govt is constantly monitoring the situation in Uttarakhand. Four NDRF teams are being airlifted to Dehradun, to reach Joshimath,” Amit Shah said.
In a series of tweets in Hindi, Shah said teams of the NDRF were deployed for rescue and relief operations of the affected people while additional troops of the force were being airlifted from Delhi.
"I have spoken to Chief Minister @tsrawatbjp Ji, DG ITBP and DG NDRF regarding the natural disaster in Uttarakhand. All the concerned officers are working on a war footing to secure the people. NDRF teams have left for rescue operations. Every possible help will be provided to 'Devbhoomi'," he said.
Shah said the central government is constantly monitoring the situation in the state.
"Some more teams of NDRF are being airlifted from Delhi and sent to Uttarakhand. We are constantly monitoring the situation there," he said.
Though details are awaited, several districts, including Pauri, Tehri, Rudraprayag, Haridwar and Dehradun, are likely to be affected and have been put on high alert.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat appealed to people to not spread rumours and misinformation about the incident.
A disaster was reported at Raini village at around 1045 am, affecting two dam sites in Chamoli. Immediate instructions were issued to take stock of the situation and take emergency measures. Simultaneously, state’s disaster response mechanism was activated. #Uttarakhand— Trivendra Singh Rawat (@tsrawatbjp) February 7, 2021
“Alaknanda water level is 1 metre above normal but its flow is gradually reducing,” Rawat said.
He further said all district officials concerned have been alerted and people have been asked not to go near the Ganga.
Rawat cancelled all his programmes scheduled for the day. He is likely to visit Chamoli to take stock of the situation.
ITBP and NDRF teams are in Uttarakhand to undertake relief and rescue work, officials in New Delhi said.
A Home Ministry spokesperson said four NDRF teams (about 200 personnel) were airlifted to Dehradun and would head to Joshimath. One column of the Engineering Task Force (ETF) of the Army, with all rescue equipment, has been deployed.
The chief minister also appealed to people to not spread rumours through old flood videos.
At the NCMC meeting, concerned agencies of the central and the state governments were asked to keep a strict vigil on the situation. A team from the DRDO, which monitors avalanches, was being flown in for surveillance and reconnaissance.
Besides, NTPC managing director was asked to reach the affected site immediately.
Two teams of the NDRF were sent and three additional teams flew in from Hindon airport in Ghaziabad. The troops are expected to reach the affected region tonight.
Indian Navy divers are also being flown in and aircraft and helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) are on standby, the spokesperson said.
In some good news, the India Meteorological Department informed that there is no rainfall warning in the region for the next two days.
News that about 150 labourers were affected had come in the early in the day. “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," said State Disaster Response Force DIG Ridhim Aggarwal. The waters in the Dhauli Ganga was flowing two to three metres above normal, the official added.
(With PTI inputs)