SDRF personnel setting up a siren-based early-warning water level sensor system for a sudden surge in Rishiganga waters in Chamoli district. (HT Photo)
SDRF personnel setting up a siren-based early-warning water level sensor system for a sudden surge in Rishiganga waters in Chamoli district. (HT Photo)

Uttarakhand disaster: Reni gets 1st warning system in case of sudden water surge

State Disaster Response Force commandant Navneet Bhullar said they have set up the water-level sensor nearly one kilometre upstream of the village.
By Neeraj Santoshi, Dehradun
UPDATED ON FEB 18, 2021 01:32 AM IST

Reni, the most-affected village in Chamoli, has got its first siren-based early warning water-level sensor system in case of a sudden surge in Rishiganga waters.

Reni was severely affected by the February 7 flash floods and authorities said that muck is still being removed from the village to recover bodies.

State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) commandant Navneet Bhullar said they have set up the water-level sensor nearly one kilometre upstream of the village.

“If the water level rises by few feet, the siren will be sounded and villagers will be alerted downstream to move away from the river,” he said.

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Bhullar said three SDRF teams have also been deployed to monitor the Rishiganga river upstream and downstream at Peng village, Rishiganga Dam site and Tapovan dam site to keep tabs on the water level.

Ravi Chauhan, Everest summiteer and part of SDRF’s high altitude rescue team (HART), said they have conducted the final trial of the early warning water-level sensor system on Tuesday, and it is operational now.

“If water rises by a few feet in the Rishiganga, the system will sound a siren to alert villagers downstream so that they can vacate the area well in time”, he said.

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A lake has formed in upstream Rishiganga, which has worried officials about the water level in Rishiganga. Even as it is slowly draining, various experts and SDRF is keeping track of the lake and taking various precautionary measures.

The water level of Rishiganga had briefly risen, likely due to water draining from the lake, due to which the rescue and search operations had to be halted for over half an hour last week.

The rescuers have so far recovered 58 bodies with 146 still missing. Of the 58, so far 11 bodies have been recovered from Tapovan dam tunnel. Out of the total bodies recovered, 29 have been identified. The search and rescue operation is still on inside the tunnel where rescuers have succeeded in clearing muck up to about 146 metres

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