In the aftermath of the Uttarakhand glacier burst, 26 bodies have been recovered till now, Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar said on Monday. As of 8 pm today, 171 people still remain missing out of which around 35 are supposed to be in the tunnel where rescue operations are underway.
A multi-agency rescue operation including — Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) — is in full swing to release people still stuck in the tunnels. The forces have cleared 90 meter stretch of debris in the big tunnel at Tapovan till now, with about 100 meters of clearing still left to do.
Rescue teams worked through the night to find survivors trapped under the debris. Most of the missing are workers from two hydroelectric projects in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, which were hit by the avalanche.
What actually happened
Footage from Sunday’s disaster shows a fast-moving wall of water and rocks barreling down a narrow gorge and smashing through a dam at the smaller hydroelectric project before surging downstream, wiping out buildings trees, and people.
Ashok Kumar, Uttarakhand’s police chief, told CNN on Monday that 26 bodies had been recovered in the affected region. He said a further 171 people were still missing, including 35 workers who are assumed to be trapped inside a tunnel at the larger, state-owned hydroelectric project.
Some 2,500 people in 13 villages were initially cut off by the flash floods sparked by the glacier’s collapse, Ashok Kumar, a senior official with the Uttarakhand police said Monday.
Rescuers had reached all 13 villages by Monday afternoon and relief work is now underway in them, Kumar said.
Meanwhile, rescue efforts are focused on clearing residue and debris from the tunnel where the 35 workers are thought to be confined. Rescuers managed to unblock the mouth of the tunnel on Monday, according to a Twitter post from the Uttarakhand State Press Information Bureau.
Also read: India: Glacier Bursts due to Global Warming