Uttarakhand glacier burst: Death toll soars 54, missing 160
Published: 01:32 PM, 15 February 2021
Rescue workers recovered a body from the Tapoban tunnel; Photo: Collected
Eight days after the devastating glacier burst in Uttarakhand, India, 13 more bodies have been recovered. With this, the death toll from the incident has climbed to 54. At least 160 are still missing, confirmed the government authorities, adding that rescue work to find the missing is underway.
13 new bodies were recovered from the Tapoban tunnel on Sunday, reported The Hindu.
Border police spokesman Vivek Pandey said the bodies were recovered while removing the mud and stones from the Tapoban tunnel. “Two of them have been identified. One is Amal Singh, a resident of Tehri and the other is Anil, a resident of Dehradun,” he added.
Chamoli Deputy Commissioner (DC) Swati Bhadauria said, “We think 20-30 more people may still trap under the rubble. Rescue efforts are being strengthened. Besides, a total of 160 people are still missing. The chances of the missing survivors are ‘slim’.”
She said efforts were being made to speed up the rescue operation by constructing a bigger road between the Tapoban-Bishungarh tunnels on Saturday. It was feared from the beginning that at least 30 people were trapped there.
NTPC project manager RP Agarwal said work was underway to rescue people trapped in the tunnel in three different ways.
A large hole was built on Friday, through which a pipe and camera could go inside the tunnel. With the help of the camera, it is seen whether anyone is stuck inside or not. Rescue work has gained momentum. Hopefully, it will be possible to rescue everyone who is trapped quickly, he added.
The avalanche or glacier burst took place near Joshimath on the morning of February 8, as a result, the water level in Dhauliganga rises. Many villages were washed away by the strong tidal wave. Even the bridge collapsed. Two power plants, the Tapoban-Bishungarh power station, were damaged as well.