“Himalayan tsunami” Fears after glacier crashes into Indian dam, 150 people could die
A massive search operation has been launched to find as many as 150 people who are missing after a glacier broke apart and crashed into a dam in India.
After a Himalayan glacier broke and washed away a hydroelectric dam, with flooding forcing the evacuation of villages downstream, as many as 150 people in northern India are feared dead.
Due to the torrents of water unleashed in the mountainous region, which sent mud and rocks crashing down, swallowing houses, washing away buildings, roads and bridges, the catastrophe was called the ‘Himalayan tsunami’.
On Sunday morning, a part of the Nanda Devi glacier split off in the northern state of Uttarakhand, damaging the hydroelectric dams of Rishiganga and Dhauliganga, a spokesman for the paramilitary Indo Tibetan Border Police said.
As an avalanche swept down the Dhauli Ganga river valley, situated more than 500 kilometers north of New Delhi, a witness reported a wall of gravel, rock and water.
Though emergency management personnel were airlifted in to help with relief and rescue, India’s air force was ready to assist with rescue operations.
Army forces were also deploying and helicopters were performing reconnaissance work.
“The government should no longer ignore warnings from experts and stop building hydropower projects and extensive highway networks in this fragile ecosystem.” said Ranjan Panda, a volunteer for the Combat Climate Change Network that works on water, environment and climate change issues.