10 dead, 8 still missing in Uttarakhand avalanche; Indian army launches rescue operations

The avalanche occurred after a part of a glacier collapsed in the remote Sumna-Rimkhim road where labourers were engaged in road construction work. So far, 430 people have been rescued

The area had been experiencing heavy rainfall and snowfall for the past five days and the avalanche occurred after a part of a glacier collapsed beyond Sumna, near the Indo China border

Nearly two months after the Nanda Devi glacial burst, an avalanche has hit the Sumna area in Uttarakhand near the Indo-China border, in which ten people have died and eight are still missing on Friday (April 23) at around 4pm.

The area had been experiencing heavy rainfall and snowfall for the past five days. The avalanche occurred after a part of a glacier collapsed beyond Sumna, in the remote Sumna-Rimkhim road where labourers were engaged in road construction work, said an India Today report. So far 430 persons have been rescued.

According to a News 18 report, a BRO detachment, two labour camps and an Indian Army camp exist near to Sumna. Rescue operations have been launched by the Indian Army immediately, even as attempts to locate other labourers at both camps are continuing.

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

Ten bodies have been recovered so far from the avalanche site. Seven persons have sustained critical injuries and are undergoing treatment. Of the seven who have been injured, six have been admitted to Military Hospital in Joshimath, while one is being treated at the Military Hospital in Dehradun, said media reports.

In a tweet, the Indian Army said, “A BRO Camp came under an avalanche in the afternoon of April 23 during heavy snowfall in Sumna area of Joshimath Sector in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. While 55 BRO persons could be mustered at first count, blizzard conditions kept the rescue operation at bay till late evening.”

Also read: Warning system, environment study may have prevented Uttarakhand tragedy

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat visited Chamoli on April 24 to take stock of the situation. He told ANI that the Home Minister Amit Shah had assured them of his support. The NDRF & District Administration are on the job, ITBP and BRO were informed and rescue was done quickly.

“I did an aerial survey today, while BRO is carrying out the operation. The connectivity remains affected,” Uttarakhand CM Tirath Singh Rawat told ANI.

Meanwhile, for India keeping road connectivity in the area is key to get access to forward locations like the contested Barahoti area on the border. Barahoti is an 80 sq km contested area along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. It is about 400 km from the state capital of Dehradun and 100 km from Joshimath, the location of a brigade headquarters.

 

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