Seven diving teams of the Indian Navy are on standby for relief operations in flood-affected areas at Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on Sunday, officials said.
At least 150 have died in Chamoli district, as per the Indo-Tibetan Border Police following a flash flood in the Rishi Ganga river near Joshimath on Sunday morning as a glacier broke up and fell into the river, exponentially increasing its volume.
The Indian Army was pressed into service to carry out rescue operations in flood-affected areas.
Troops have been moved towards the flood-affected areas in Dhauliganga, where the massive flood occurred.
Further, Indian Air Force assets, both fixed wing as well as rotary, are on standby to provide all possible assistance.
The Army Aviation Wing has also been pressed into service to carry out an aerial survey and evacuate trapped people. “One advanced light helicopter and two Cheetah helicopters are evacuating persons in the area,” an Army official said.
Four columns, or around 400 personnel, of the Army have been moved to flood-affected areas, the official added. Two medical teams and engineering task force were also pressed into service.
“Indian Air Force C-130 and AN-32 aircraft are being used to airlift National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel,” said a senior IAF official.
Several labourers working at the Rishi Ganga hydroelectric power project were feared missing after the glacier broke in Dhauli Ganga valley in Joshimath on Sunday morning, sources said.
A dam of the Tapovan power project was breached and feared to have been washed away.
ITBP and SDRF personnel have been rushed to the affected areas to evacuate stranded people. The rivers in the region have witnessed flash floods after the glacier broke.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has convened an emergency meeting to take stock of the situation and to supervise rescue and relief operations.
Though the impact of the disaster may not be felt in Rishikesh and Haridwar, the towns have been put on alert.
A government spokesman said that there was not much human habitation at the site where the glacier broke but a number of power projects have been hit.
The government has also appealed to the area people not to venture near the Ganga river.
Part of an under-construction hydropower project of state-run power major NTPC has been damaged by the avalanche in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on Sunday.
The company has said that it is monitoring the situation continuously along with the district administration and police.
Part of the under-construction Tapovan Vishnugad hydro power project (520 MW) has faced damages while another privately-owned Rishi Ganga hydro project (130 MW) was completely devastated.
“An avalanche near Tapovan in Uttarakhand has damaged a part of our under-construction hydropower project in the region. While rescue operation is on, situation is being monitored continuously with the help of district administration and police,” NTPC said in a tweet.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said that 125 people are missing following the massive flood.
The incident occurred after the water level in Dhauliganga river, suddenly surged on Sunday morning following an avalanche near the Rishi Ganga power project. The 85 km river meets the Alaknanda river at Vishnuprayag at the base of Joshimath mountain in Uttarakhand.