Authorities in India are looking for survivors Sunday after a portion of a Himalayan glacier broke, sending a flood of water and debris into two dams and damaging numerous homes.
At least nine people are dead with 140 reported missing following the incident, according to the Associated Press (AP).
“The flood was caused when a portion of Nanda Devi glacier broke off in the Tapovan area of the northern state of Uttarakhand on Sunday morning,” the report said.
Journalist Alec Luhn tweeted video footage of what appeared to be the recent event:
100-150 feared dead after a "Himalayan glacier broke" & washed away dam construction in India. Rescuers are trying to save workers trapped in tunnels https://t.co/pbL8ohQBVg pic.twitter.com/JgciyHYAgZ
— Alec Luhn (@ASLuhn) February 7, 2021
The AP article continued:
The Rishiganga hydropower plant on the Alaknanda River was destroyed, while the Dhauliganga hydropower plant on the Dhauliganga River was damaged, said Vivek Pandey, a spokesman for the paramilitary Indo Tibetan Border Police. Flowing from the Himalayan mountains, both rivers meet before merging with the Ganges River.
According to Pandey, at least 42 workers were trapped in two tunnels at the Dhauliganga plant. While 12 trapped inside one tunnel were saved, about 30 others were still inside the other tunnel.
He added that another 140 workers at the plants were missing.
In a tweet Sunday, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “constantly monitoring the unfortunate situation in Uttarakhand.”
“India stands with Uttarakhand and the nation prays for everyone’s safety there,” he continued:
Am constantly monitoring the unfortunate situation in Uttarakhand. 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.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 7, 2021
Video posted by Uttarakhand Police and Indo-Tibetan Border Police showed an individual being pulled alive from a tunnel, NBC News reported, adding, “It was not immediately clear if he was one of the workers or a local resident”:
Brave #Himveers of ITBP rescuing trapped persons from the tunnel near Tapovan, #Dhauliganga, #Uttarakhand this evening after 4 hrs of efforts. Total 12 persons were rescued from the tunnel out of which 3 were found unconscious. After first aid, carried on stretchers to road head. pic.twitter.com/iHsrFXjhDd
— ITBP (@ITBP_official) February 7, 2021
Numerous villages were evacuated when authorities issued an advisory telling people living on the banks of the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers to head to safer areas immediately.
“Authorities emptied two dams farther down the river to stop the flood waters from reaching towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh, where popular tourist spots on the banks of the Ganges River were shut and all boating activities were stopped,” the AP report concluded.