150 missing in glacial burst in Uttarakhand, India

India stands with Uttarakhand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today shortly after news broke of a glacial burst in the state’s Chamoli district, triggering an avalanche and massive flooding. The entire nation is praying for everyone’s safety there, he said in a tweet, adding that he was monitoring the situation constantly.

A glacier broke off in Joshimath in Chamoli district, causing the massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga River and endangering the lives of people living along its banks. Massive destruction is feared, according to a PTI report.

Over 150 labourers working at the Rishi Ganga power project are believed to have been affected, according to State Disaster Response Force DIG Ridhim Aggarwal. Agency reports said they are feared dead. Vivek Kumar Pandey, a spokesman for the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, said three bodies had been recovered, according to a NYT report.

“Am constantly monitoring the unfortunate situation in Uttarakhand. India stands with Uttarakhand and the nation prays for everyone’s safety there,” PM Modi tweeted.

“Have been continuously speaking to senior authorities and getting updates on NDRF deployment, rescue work and relief operations.”

The flooding was reported along the Alaknanda and Dhauli Ganga rivers today, forcing the emergency evacuation of thousands from surrounding areas, and damaging houses and the nearby Rishi Ganga power project.

Tweeting separately, the Prime Minister’s Office, said, “While in Assam, PM @narendramodi reviewed the situation in Uttarakhand. He spoke to CM @tsrawatbjp and other top officials. He took stock of the rescue and relief work underway. Authorities are working to provide all possible support to the affected.”

The Prime Minister is visiting Assam and West Bengal, launching various developmental projects and attending a political rally. Speaking in Haldia, West Bengal, later in the day, he said: “Relief work is in full progress and every attempt is being made to help the affected people.”

President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted expressing concern over the destruction, but hoped that rescue and relief will be successful.

“Deeply worried about the glacier burst near Joshimath, Uttarakhand, that caused destruction in the region. Praying for well-being and safety of people. Am confident that rescue and relief operations on ground are progressing well,” he said.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, meanwhile, spoke to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and assured him of all possible support to deal with the situation. In a series of tweets in Hindi, Shah said teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed for rescue and relief operations of the affected people while additional troops of the force are being airlifted from Delhi.

“Some more teams of NDRF are being airlifted from Delhi.We are constantly monitoring the situation there,” he said.

Scientists have warned that climate change is melting the Himalayan glaciers at an alarming pace.

The glaciers, which supply water to a vast number of people, could be mostly gone by the end of the century, a recent study found, the NYT reported.



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