Dozens dead, hundreds missing: What we know about Uttarakhand flash floods so far
Five days after a part of a glacier broke off in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand triggering devastating flash floods in the area, the death toll reached 36 on Friday and 168 people are still missing, officials have said.
Here is everything that has happened since the floods on Sunday:
What caused the floods?
A part of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off on February 7 at around 10:45am triggering an avalanche and sudden floods in the Rishi Ganga, Dhauli Ganga and Alaknanda, all tributaries of the River Ganga. "The glacial burst led to the rising of water levels in the river Rishiganga, which washed away the Rishiganga small hydro project of 13.2 MW,” the Union ministry of home affairs said.
Death toll and damage
Officials have said 204 people went missing after the floods of which 36 bodies have been recovered and 168 people are still missing. Of the 36 bodies, 10 have been identified, according to officials. Also, around 30 people are feared to have been trapped inside a tunnel in a hydel power project site of the NTPC in Tapovan area of Chamoli district.
Agencies such as the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF), National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) along with the Indian army and the local police have been involved in the relief efforts.
Rescue efforts continued in the Tapovan tunnel for the sixth consecutive day on Friday. “The rescue workers are putting in all efforts to clear the muck from the tunnel but are unable to make any progress because there is heavy muck inside. We have cleared about 100m of the tunnel,” Uttarakhand's chief of police Ashok Kumar said.
Relief measures announced
Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had cancelled his plans for the day on Sunday and visited the flood-affected sites from February 8 to take stock of the situation. Rawat had announced ₹4 lakh as compensation for the kin of the deceased.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also announced an ex-gratia of ₹2 lakh for the family of those killed in the disaster and Rs. 50,000 to the injured.
Scientists analyse the cause
"According to the scientists, the area where the calamity struck is not prone to avalanches and apparently it was not caused by a glacier burst as initial reports suggested. It was due to millions of metric tonnes of snow sliding down abruptly from a trigger point on the top of a naked hill," CM Rawat had said on Monday.