LUCKNOW (INDIA) – Military personnel were deployed in the Indian Himalayas on Monday to help find at least 125 missing people after a part of a glacier broke away down a mountain valley.
“We expect to carry on operations for the next 24 to 48 hours, ” said Satya Pradhan, the chief of the National Disaster Response Force.
The glacier burst has swept away a small hydro electric project called Rishiganga and damaged a bigger one further downstream. Most people who have gone missing were working on the two projects. These were government projects set up in a bid to push for development in the region.
Rescue workers were focused on a 2.5 km (1.5 miles) long tunnel where workers were believed trapped.
Vivek Pandey, a spokesman of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force, said 30-35 workers were believed to be inside the tunnel and that rescuers were trying to open its mouth and get inside. Rescuers are yet to establish any voice contact with anyone in the tunnel.
On Sunday 12 people were rescued from another tunnel.
Videos on social media showed water surging through a small dam site, washing away construction equipment and bringing down small bridges.
“Everything was swept away, people, cattle and trees,” Sangram Singh Rawat, a former village council member of Raini, the site closest to the glacier, told local media.
Some 400 soldiers have been deployed to the site in the remote mountains, state authorities said.