Add up to 19 killed by avalanche in India

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8TH, 2021.-

At least 200 people were reported missing by the avalanche that was caused by a glacier break in India

🖊 EFE 📸 REUTERS


The Indian authorities on Monday raised the death toll to 19 and more than 200 missing due to the avalanche caused by the breakage of a glacier in northern India, while the rescue efforts continue against the clock.

The disaster took place Sunday morning in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand state in the Himalayan mountain range, when the glacier rupture triggered an avalanche of water and mud that followed the course of the multi-river channels, forcing the emergency evacuation of thousands of people.

So far, "at least 202 people have been reported missing from yesterday's disaster, while 19 bodies have been recovered from various locations," Uttarakhand Police reported in their latest report.

Much of the rescue efforts are focusing on the search for workers at two hydroelectric plants under construction affected by the avalanche, where it was initially estimated that there could be about 150 workers still missing.

Without stopping work overnight, displaced teams are trying to rescue alive thirty workers trapped in a tunnel under construction near one of the hydroelectric plants, following the successful rescue yesterday afternoon of 12 other workers in another tunnel.

"The operation to rescue those trapped in a tunnel is still underway. The tunnel is being cleared with the help of JCB (construction) machinery," Chamoli Police said.

The first rescue gave away images of jubilation, with cries of mud-covered workers that were extracted from a hole at the top of the tunnel.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Sunday 200,000 rupees for relatives of the deceased and 50,000 for the seriously injured.

Videos filmed with mobile phones from the moment of the avalanche and broadcast by social networks, show the sudden arrival of a large column of mud and water along the channel of a river, hitting hard the slopes of the valley and destroying in its wake structures such as that of at least one of the hydroelectric plants affected.

This mountainous region in the Himalayas also witnessed in June 2013 floods, landslides and the collapse of buildings after monsoon rains advanced by one month and there was 68% more rainfall than usual.

This tragedy caused about seven thousand dead or missing, many of them Hindu pilgrims who had come to Uttarakhand to visit some of the most important places for this religion, and where the sacred Ganges River is also born.

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