Disaster struck Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on February 7 in the form of an avalanche and deluge, after a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off. The sudden flood in the middle of the day in the Dhauli Ganga, Rishi Ganga and Alaknanda rivers — all intricately linked tributaries of the Ganga — triggered widespread panic and large-scale devastation in the high mountain areas. Since then, rescuers are trying to locate missing people, even as the death toll continues to rise.
Here are the latest updates on Uttarakhand glacier burst
1. Death toll rises to 54
Rescue teams on Sunday recovered 13 more bodies, including the first ones to be pulled out from the sludge-choked Tapovan tunnel where a massive operation to reach about 30 people trapped inside began after a flash flood in Chamoli district a week ago.
Six bodies were recovered from the Tapovan power project tunnel, six from Raini upstream and one from the riverbank in Rudraprayag, taking the confirmed death toll in the Uttarakhand disaster to 56. Officials say over 150 people still remain missing.
2. 64 persons frm UP missing
Sixty-four persons belonging to Uttar Pradesh are still missing almost a week after the floods in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, a government official said on Saturday.
So far, five persons from the State have been declared dead, while 23 others were traced, said Sanjay Goyal, U.P. Relief Commissioner.
The majority of the missing people belong to Lakhimpur Kheri district (30), located on the India-Nepal border in the Terai region, followed by Saharanpur (10), Shravasti (5) and Gorakhpur (4).
3. Uttarakhand flood disaster | Relief operation continues in Chamoli
The rescue operation at the Tapovan hydel project tunnel in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli is underway. Joint teams comprising about 1,000 officials and personnel from different Central and State agencies are currently involved in the search, rescue and relief operations.
4. Hydel projects damaged
Two power projects — NTPC’s Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project and the Rishi Ganga Hydel Project — have been extensively damaged.
5. What caused the floods?
A part of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off on February 7 at around 10:45am triggering an avalanche and sudden floods in the Rishi Ganga, Dhauli Ganga and Alaknanda, all tributaries of the River Ganga. "The glacial burst led to the rising of water levels in the river Rishiganga, which washed away the Rishiganga small hydro project of 13.2 MW,” the Union ministry of home affairs said.
6. Relief measures announced
Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has announced Rs 4 lakh as compensation for the kin of the deceased. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the family of those killed in the disaster and Rs 50,000 to the injured.
7. Impact on Delhi
High turbidity likely to affect water supply in parts of Delhi
Flash floods in Uttarakhand's Chamoli have increased turbidity of raw water fetched by Delhi from Upper Ganga Canal to "unprecedented levels" which is likely to hit water supply in many parts of the national capital, DJB vice chairman Raghav Chadha said.
8. Flood impact on Chardham road project
The deluge of pictures of the glacier burst from Uttarakhand may raise fresh troubles for the ongoing Char Dham road project. The project is not one but a smorgasbord of 53 road projects in Uttarakhand at a cost of Rs 12,072 crore. While about 50 per cent of the project has been completed, the difficult ones demanding the most money and widening of the roads near glaciers and landslide-prone zones up in the hills are yet to be attempted.
The flash flood has raised public anger over hydropower projects that the government considers essential to decarbonize the nation’s electricity generation. Experts say the incident, induced by the effect of global warming on melting glaciers, was made worse by construction of infrastructure.
“Hydropower projects, which use large-scale blasting, tree felling and tunneling, most certainly added to the proportion of the impact,” said Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of the New Delhi-based South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, which studies the social and environmental impact of water-related projects. “They became a force multiplier in the destruction.”
10. Fate of NTPC’s Tapovan project hangs in balance after Rs 1,500 crore loss
The fate of NTPC’s 520-MW Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project hangs in balance as India’s largest power company is estimated to have suffered a loss of Rs 1,500 crore due to damage to the construction caused by the flash flood.