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U'khand floods: Rescue efforts hampered by water accumulation inside tunnel

Rescuers continued efforts on the 11th day to find survivors of the February 7 glacial disaster

Uttarakhand | Uttarakhand flood | Natural Disasters

Press Trust of India  |  Tapovan (U'khand) 

A new machine has been brought to Tapovan tunnel to carry out further drilling, at Joshimath in Chamoli district on Saturday.
File photo

Rescuers pumped out the water accumulated in the NTPC's flood-ravaged Tapovan tunnel on Wednesday as they continued efforts on the 11th day to find survivors of the February 7 glacial disaster.

Sludge clearing at the adit tunnel, where eleven bodies were recovered recently, was temporarily suspended since Tuesday evening due to the seepage of water which was flushed out with the help of submersible pumps provided by the NTPC, NDRF Commandant PK Tiwari told PTI.

"Removal of wet debris with JCBs is difficult. So it was decided to resume muck clearing only after flushing out water accumulated inside the intake adit tunnel," he said.

However, the debris clearing exerciseresumed at 3.15 PM after pumping out water, NDRF Deputy Commandant AP Singh said.

It seems reaching the possible location of those feared trapped inside a lower tunnel running parallel to the adit tunnel will take longer as rescue personnel have been able to go only up to 150 metres inside intake adit, Tiwari said.

"The biggest challenge is the fresh slush flowing in as we move ahead clearing the debris inside the tunnel," Tiwari said.

Apart from scouring inside the tunnel and near the barrage ofthe NTPC's Tapovan-Vishnugad project site, the NDRF rescue teams are also searching along the banks of the Alaknanda river and near a temple in Raini where villagers suspect some people to be trapped, he said.

It is the eleventh day sincethe calamity struck following the burst of a glacier in Rishiganga, and the hopes of families waiting for their missing kin are also on the wane.

There is no longer a crowd of waiting relatives near Tapovan tunnel, while the one seenon the way to the Tapovan barrage is thinning away with just a couple of persons seen on Wednesday making enquiries about the missing.

So far, 58 bodies of disaster victims have been recovered including 11 from a tunnel in Tapovan, while 146 people are still missing.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Wed, February 17 2021. 19:51 IST