Hyderabad: A broken dam causes a deluge of water to pour through Chamoli valley in Uttarakhand. Villages were evacuated in time, but officials said that three bodies have been recovered so far, and around 150 labourers working at the two power plants in the Tapovan region are still missing.
"Around 100 to 150 casualties feared in the flash flood in Chamoli district," Uttarakhand chief secretary Om Prakash told ANI.
Videos shared through social media showed the floodwater flowing through the area causing widespread damage.
Three bodies have been recovered so far. As many as 150 people may have been victims of the flooding, as reported by NDTV.
Disaster struck at 10.55 am, after an avalanche near Raini, a village close to the Dhauliganga river, which is a sub-tributary of the Alaknanda. The floods wiped out everything in its path.
"We have taken out two dead bodies from the waters close to Tapovan. There were two projects - NTPC and Rishiganga - and the officials told us that around 150 labourers are reported missing. We hope they are safe and found soon," Ridhim Agarwal, SSP, Uttarakhand STF, told NDTV.
A third body was later recovered from the same location.
Rishiganga Power Project has been damaged due to a breach of a glacier in the Tapovan area. People living on the bank of the Alaknanda river are advised to move to safer places at the earliest, said Chamoli Police.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi informed that he has spoken to senior authorities and is getting regular updates on the NDRF deployment, rescue work, and relief operations.
"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," Modi tweeted.
Officers and employees of the Chamoli district administration and SDRF personnel, who had been strategically placed near the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun to facilitate rescue efforts, were joined by personnel from the ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) in working on war footing.
An emergency team was rushed from Dehradun, as soon as the news reached the state capital.
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, who reached Chamoli on Sunday afternoon told reporters, "As the work at Rishiganga power project (and) a railway line project was going on full steam, the safety of labourers at the sites is of paramount importance. People were alerted and evacuated to higher grounds. The flow of the Bhagirathi river had been stopped at the GVK dam, and Veerbhadra dam in Rishikesh has been drained to accommodate rising water levels of Alaknanda."
Rawat also said that all river rafting operations had been stopped.
The state has appealed to people living along the Ganga and Alaknanda riverbanks to move to higher ground. The chief minister also appealed to people to not panic and not believe rumours. He said his government was taking all the necessary steps to control the situation and save lives.