Massive avalanche washes away Rishiganga hydro project in Uttarakhand

08 Feb 2021


A massive avalanche caused by glacial burst in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district led to massive flooding along the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers on Sunday morning.

Reports said a huge glacier burst into the reservoir of the Rishiganga Power Project, causing a breach in the Tapovan area, washing away the Rishiganga small hydro project of 13.2 MW and causing flood in areas around the Dhauliganga River.
Emergency evacuation of thousands from the surrounding areas have been ordered after the floods damaged houses and the nearby Rishiganga power project, according to a statement by Chamoli police
The flooding due to cloudburst or breaching of a reservoir has destroyed several houses along the river banks. 
ITBP personnel have rushed for the rescue of people along the river bank amidst feared casualties.
"Some water bodies flooded and destroyed many river bank-side houses due to cloudburst or breaching of the reservoir. Casualties are feared and hundreds of ITBP personnel rushed for rescue," ITBP officials said.
The Chamoli district magistrate has instructed officials to evacuate people living in villages on the bank of the Dhauliganga River. The district magistrate and the superintendent of police have left for the spot.
The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) under the chairmanship of cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba met today to assess the situation arising out of the disaster caused by glacial burst.
Besides washing away the Rishiganga small hydro project of 13.2 MW, the flash flood affected some downstream hydro project of NTPC at Tapovan on the river Dhauliganga, which is a tributary of the river Alaknanda. 
Cabinet secretary directed the concerned agencies to work in close co-ordination and extend all requisite assistance to the state administration. He emphasised the need to account for all missing persons and ensure that those trapped in the tunnel are rescued at the earliest. He directed that surveillance should be maintained till rescue efforts are completed and the situation returns to normal. 
Chief secretary of Uttarakhand who briefed the committee through video conferencing said action has been taken to evacuate people and to contain the damage caused by the flooding due to the glacial burst.
However, there is no danger of downstream flooding and the rise in water level has been contained, as per the information given by the Central Water Commission (CWC).  There is also no threat to the neighbouring villages. At the same time, the concerned agencies – both central and state - were asked to keep strict vigil on the situation, and a team from DRDO, which monitors avalanches, is being flown in for surveillance and reconnaissance. 
Two teams of NDRF are en route and 3 additional teams have been flown in from Hindon, which will reach the spot later in the night. More than 200 ITBP personnel are on the spot, and one column and Engineering Task Force (ETF) of Army, with all rescue equipment have been deployed.  Navy divers are being flown in and aircrafts/ helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) are on standby.
IMD informed during the meeting that there is no rainfall warning in the region for the next two days.

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