Glacier breach and avalanche at Joshimath in Himalayas leaves many dead; 125 feared missing

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Dehradun/Chamoli: At least 125 people are missing, while the Rishiganga Hydroelectric Project near Raini and NTPC’s power project at Tapovan in Uttarakhand have been damaged by the flash flood caused by the bursting of a glacier at Joshimath in the Himalayas  on Sunday 7 February 2021.

After conducting an aerial survey and inspecting the affected area on Sunday, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat told media-persons that five persons have lost their lives in the Raini area. From the entire affected area, bodies of seven people have been recovered so far. 

President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expressed grief and concern over the disaster and loss of lives.

Prime Minister Modi has approved an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each from Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the tragic avalanche caused by a Glacier breach in Chamoli, Uttrakhand. The PM has also approved an amount of  Rs. 50,000 for those seriously injured.

On his return from the scene of disaster, the Chief Minister said that on receiving information about the bursting of the glacier in the Joshimath area, the district administration and SDRF team had immediately rushed to the spot for relief and rescue operations. He further said that along with Garhwal Commissioner Ravinath Raman and DIG Garhwal Ms Neeru Garg, he had reached the affected areas to take stock of the situation from the Chamoli district collector.

State Chief Secretary Om Prakash and Secretary Disaster Management SA Murugesh were present at the Disaster Management Center and were constantly monitoring the situation and also gave necessary guidelines to the District administration.
The Chief Minister said that one big and four small bridges have been damaged in this area. Army and SDRF personnel as well as army and state government helicopters have been provided with necessary medical facilities to extend necessary assistance and relief to the 11 affected villages. The Chief Minister said that the villages that have lost road connectivity due to extensive damage to the roads and bridges connecting the Niti Valley near Rainei include like Gahar, Bhangule, Raini Palli, Pang, Lata, Suraithota, Tolma, and Fagarasu. The villages hat have been damaged or washed away are Jungju’s Jhulagu bridge, Juvagvadasadhar Jhulapul, Bhagulatpovan Jhulapul and Pang Murnda bridge. 

The Shivji Temple at Raini and Ma Bhagwati temple at Jugju have also been washed away in the disaster. 

The 250 mt long tunnel of the Rishiganga power project was covered with debris and as there was 3540 feet of silt covering the tunnel, it was extremely difficult to reach it.  ITBP jawans could only reach there with the help of rope. 

The Chief Minister informed media-persons that the team of NDRAP had arrived from Delhi and more rescue personnel were to reach there on Monday. The Army, Paramilitary Force and doctors have also been deployed at the disaster site. 

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