NEW DELHI- Dozens of people are feared dead in Chamoli of Uttarakhand after a glacier burst apart and crashed into a hydroelectric dam, with people hurriedly being evacuated amid rising water levels on a nearby river.
Videos shared in social media showed water gushing towards the dam in Uttarakhand on Sunday, washing away parts of it and whatever else was in its path.
Speaking to reporters at a press briefing in Dehra Dun, the capital of Uttarakhand state, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said “seven bodies have been recovered from the site and rescue operations are going on”.
Om Prakash, Uttarakhand’s chief secretary, said earlier as many as 150 people were feared dead but “the actual number has not been confirmed yet”.
Most of the missing were workers at two power plants that were battered by the deluge, caused by a huge chunk of glacier that slipped off a mountainside further upstream, said Uttarakhand’s police chief Ashok Kumar.
“There were 50 workers at Rishi Ganga plant and we have no information about them. Some 150 workers were at Tapovan,” he added. “About 20 are trapped inside a tunnel. We are trying to reach the trapped workers.”
With the main road washed away, the tunnel was filled with mud and rocks and paramilitary rescuers had to climb down a hillside on ropes to get access to the entrance.
Local authorities reported that districts including Pauri, Tehri, Rudraprayag, Haridwar and Dehradun were put on high alert.
Meanwhile the prime minister announced an “ex-gratia” or discretionary payment of Rs two lakhs for the families of the deceased, and Rs fifty thousand for those seriously injured in the accident.