Dehradun: At least 150 people were feared dead as a glacial lake outburst flood struck Raini village of Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on Sunday, leaving a trail of destruction.
Reports received here said the 13.3 MW Rishiganga Power Project has been completely damaged as the water level in the Alaknanda river rose several feet due to flash floods caused by the bursting of the glacier.
Director General of Police Ashok Kumar said many people who were working at the Rishiganga power project are feared to have been washed away. “People who have been caught in the silt and debris are being rescued. Teams of police and SDRF have reached the spot. The water has reached Karanprayag. We are trying our level best to prevent further loss of life,” Mr Kumar said.
The DGP said that the police are taking 16 people, trapped in Tapovan Dam to a safer place.
The disaster was reported at around 1045 hrs, affecting two dam sites in Chamoli and simultaneously, the state’s disaster response mechanism was activated.
Many houses and hutments located along the river were washed away by the gushing river water that uprooted hundreds of trees that came in its way.
The flow of water from the country’s tallest dam — Tehri dam — was stopped to facilitate smooth passage of rising waters on Rishi Ganga and Alaknanda. All the villages and low lying areas on the banks were immediately vacated after the disaster and water flow from Srinagar dam was increased to manage higher water flows.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat reached the spot and requested the people to not spread the rumours of the disaster by sharing old videos.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar took stock of the situation from the Chief Minister over phone.
“India stands with Uttarakhand and the nation prays for everyone’s safety there. Have been continuously speaking to senior authorities and getting updates on NDRF deployment, rescue work and relief operations,” Mr Modi wrote on his official twitter handle.
Shah assured all possible help to the Uttarakhand chief minister and directed the authorities to airlift four NDRF teams from Dehradun to Joshimath.
At the time of filing of this report, a National Disaster Management Team (NDRF) reached the spot and started the relief and rescue operation on war footing.
Chamoli police alerted the people to stay away from all the riparian areas of Uttarakhand.
The water flow has become normal in Srinagar. In 2013, a devastating flood occurred at Rudraprayag district after Mandakini river swelled from bursting of clouds, leading to loss of lives of hundreds.