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Northern India rescuers are working hard to free at least 37 people after a glacier flood trapped them inside a tunnel. On Monday, Feb. 7, 2021, a piece of a Himalayan glacier broke off and sent a wall of debris and water down a mountainside.
Many villages along the banks of the Dhauliganga and Alaknanda had to be evacuated. Video footage shows the muddy, dusky-gray floodwaters barrelling through the valley. The debris surged into the dam which caused it to break into pieces. Then the waters and debris roared downstream.
A hydroelectric plant — located in Alaknanda, India — was destroyed. One plant under construction in Dhauliganga was damaged. Workers were caught at the Dhauliganaga plant. Some of the workers were rescued from a different tunnel than the one that has people entrapped.
A senior government official in India told The Associated Press that they do not know the exact number of people who are missing. It is believed there were close to 200 people working when the event happened.
An Indo Tibetan Border Police spokesman — Vivek Pandey — stated on February 8 that there were at least 165 people working in both the factories. This number does not include those who are trapped in the tunnel.
India rescuers have already been able to recover 26 bodies. The people who were rescued on Sunday were taken to the local hospital where they were treated. Some are still there recovering from their injuries.
Rakesh Bhatt, one of the Indian rescue workers, stated they had been working in the tunnel when water came rushing in. One of the trapped workers were able to contact officials with his cellular phone.
Sadly many people in India believe that most of the people missing were washed down the Dhauli Ganga river. India officials have speculated that rescue attempts will continue through Tuesday — possibly even longer.
Written by Sheena Robertson
The Associated Press: Rescuers in India digging for 37 trapped in glacier flood; by BISWAJEET BANERJEE and RISHABH R. JAIN
Featured Image Courtesy of Prakash’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License