A week after destroying a glacier patch in the Indian Himalayas, rescuers recovered nine other bodies. The disaster toll in the state of Uttarakhand has thus increased to fifty. More than 150 people are still missing.
A wall of water rolled into a valley in India’s northern Himalayas last Sunday, destroying bridges, roads and two hydroelectric plants.
Rescuers use heavy equipment in a race against time to free dozens of construction workers. Construction workers are trapped in an underground tunnel, which is connected to a hydroelectric power station under construction on behalf of the Indian government.
“We have not yet given up hope. We hope to find more survivors,” said Swati Bhadoriya, a senior government official in the region.
Risky rescue operations due to massive amounts of debris
According to the authorities, 154 people are still missing. Experts warn that massive amounts of rocks, debris, ice and water can still come loose. This makes rescue operations risky.
Uttarakhand is prone to flash floods and landslides. The disaster led to calls from environmental groups for an assessment of energy projects in this area. There are around ten thousand glaciers in the Indian Himalayas. Uttarakhand has 1,495 glaciers and many of them are retreating due to global warming.