Uttarakhand glacial burst toll at 70; missing 136 may be declared dead

Of the 70 persons declared dead, 14 were found from the tunnel at the NTPC project site at Tapovan

Rescue teams continue to work at the Tapovan tunnel. Pic: Twitter

Over a fortnight after a glacial burst ripped apart a hilltop forcing a massive effusion of debris and flash flood to crash down upon Chamoli district’s Tapovan area in Uttarakhand, the death toll has risen to 70, reported ANI. Media reports say the state government is likely to declare over 130 people missing as “presumed dead”.

Till Monday (February 22), 136 people were still reported missing and of the 70 declared dead, 14 were found from the tunnel at the NTPC project site at Tapovan. The usual procedure to declare the missing as dead is that when there is no word from them for seven years.

“According to information received from the disaster control room yesterday (February 22), one dead body was recovered from Shrinagar and one from Kirti Nagar. Of the 206 missing, 70 bodies and 29 human organs have been recovered,” ANI quoted the state government as saying.

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Also read: Uttarakhand disaster: Big infra projects threaten fragile Himalayan region

The rescue and search operation for 134 missing people is underway. Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel along with National Disaster Response Force and other sister agencies have been conducting search and rescue operations in Chamoli district.

On Monday, he National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel had reached up to 171 metres inside the Tapovan tunnel. Navy divers undertook the task of recording the depth of the glacial lake formed in the upper reaches of Chamoli, the Indian Navy had said Sunday. According to NDRF, the excavation work on February 22 went on from 11:50 pm to 2:15 am to dewater the tunnel.

The glacier burst had led to massive flooding in the Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers and damaged houses and the nearby Rishiganga power project.

Also read: After Uttarakhand disaster, Himachal villages oppose hydel projects plan

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