Rescuers in India excavate 37 people stranded in glacier floods

Rudraprayag, India (AP) – Rescuers in northern India were working on Monday when an attempt was made to rescue more than three dozen power plant workers trapped in the tunnel after a section of the Himalayan glacier was broken and one A wall of water and debris was sent to the mountain in the disaster. This left 18 dead and 165 missing.

More than 2,000 members of military, paramilitary groups and police are participating in a search-and-rescue operation in the northern state of Uttarakhand after Sunday’s floods that destroyed one dam, damaged another and razed homes And washed it.

Officials said the focus is on rescuing 37 such workers who are trapped inside the tunnel in one of the affected hydroelectric plants. The excavations were brought in to help with efforts to reach workers who had been out of touch since the flood.

“The tunnel is full of debris, which came from the river. We are using machines to clear the way, “H. Gurung, a senior officer of the paramilitary force Indo Tibetan Border Police said.

Authorities fear many more are dead and were searching for dead bodies downstream using boats. They also went to the banks of the river and used binoculars to scan the bodies that might have been washed downstream.

When a part of the Nanda Devi glacier broke on Sunday morning, the trapped water was left behind. Experts said the disaster could be linked to global warming and a team of scientists was flown to the site on Monday to actually investigate.

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The flood waters went into the mountains and other bodies of water to evacuate many villages along the banks of the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers. The video shows sloppy, concrete-brown floodwater hitting the valley and rising into a dam, breaking it into pieces with little resistance before rolling downstream. It made the countryside look like an ash-colored moon.

India Tibetan Border Police spokesperson Vivek Pandey said a hydroelectric plant at Alaknanda was destroyed and a plant under construction on Dhauliganga was damaged. Flowing through the Himalayan mountains, the two rivers meet before merging into the Ganges River.

The trapped laborers were at the Dhauliganga plant, where 12 laborers were rescued from a separate tunnel on Sunday.

A senior government official told The Associated Press that he was not aware of the total number of people working in the Dhauliganga project. “The number of missing people may increase or come down,” SA Murugesan said.

Pandey said on Monday that 165 workers in the two plants were missing and at least 18 bodies were recovered, not including the people trapped in the tunnel.

On Sunday, the rescued were rushed to the hospital, where they were recovering.

One of the rescued workers, Rakesh Bhatt, said, The Associated Press said they were working in the tunnel when water ran into it.

“We thought it might rain and the water will go again.” But when we saw mud and debris entering with great speed, we realized that something big had happened.

Bhatt said that one of the workers was able to contact the authorities through his mobile phone.

“We waited for about six hours – prayed to God and joked with each other to keep our spirits high. I was the first to save and it was a great relief.

The Himalayan region where there is a Sunday flood is a series of hydropower projects on several rivers and their tributaries. Officials said they were able to save other power units due to timely action to release water from the gate opening.

Flood waters also damaged homes, but details on the number and whether any residents were injured, missing or dead. Officials said they were trying to track if anyone was missing from the villages along the two rivers.

Government officials broadcast food packets and medicine to at least two flood-affected villages.

Many people from nearby villages work at the Dhauliganga plant, Murugesan said, but as it was Sunday, fewer people were at work than a week,

“The only solution for us is that there is very little chance of casualties from the surrounding villages,” he said.

Some have already begun to point to climate change as a contributing factor given the known melting and breakdown of the world’s glaciers, although other factors such as erosion, earthquakes, water pressure buildup and volcanic eruptions are also glaciers. Causes collapse.

Anjal Prakash, research director and assistant professor at the Indian School of Business, who contributed to the UN-sponsored research on global warming, said data on the causes of the disaster was not yet available, “it looks like a climate change of global warming. Causes glaciers are melting. “


Banerjee reported from Lucknow, India.