On Sunday morning at Joshimath in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district, a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Reni village, triggering an avalanche and a flood in the Alaknanda river system. The sudden flood in the middle of the day in the Dhauli Ganga, Rishi Ganga, and Alaknanda rivers -- all intricately linked tributaries of the Ganga -- triggered widespread panic and large-scale devastation.
1. Number of casualties so far
According to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, at least seven people have died due to the calamity until now. However, it is projected that the casualties may go up as many villagers and shepherds have swept away in the rivers.
The CM, in his yesterday's press conference, also notified that five common men, including shepherds and 180 sheep and goats also swept away due to the flood.
Additionally, official figures say that 125 people are still missing and the Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), other agencies have rescued 16 labourers from a tunnel in the Tapovan project. Rescue efforts at present are focused on extricating 30-35 workers trapped in the same tunnel.
Two power projects, NTPC's Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project and the Rishi Ganga Hydel Project, were extensively damaged with scores of labourers trapped in tunnels as water came rushing in.
2. Is glacier burst bigger than 2013 Kedarnath disaster?
The Uttarakhand glacier disaster came as a grim reminder of the Kedarnath deluge of 2013, which led to widespread devastation in the ecologically fragile Himalayan region. However, unlike the Kedarnath tragedy that struck after a downpour, the flash flood on Sunday occurred on a bright and sunny morning, which helped in relief and rescue operations by police, State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), and ITBP personnel in the affected areas.
Contrary to the bad weather that delayed the launch of relief and rescue operations after the Kedarnath deluge whose magnitude could not be immediately realised, the clear weather on Sunday allowed helicopters to reach the affected areas quickly.
In Kedarnath's tragedy, 169 people died and 4,021 went missing, who were later presumed to be dead, according to the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM).
However, in Sunday's glacier burst and consequent flash flood, seven people have lost their lives and 125 are still missing. The numbers of casualties can go up as DRDO, SDRF, and NDRF officials are still monitoring the disaster-hit areas.
The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba has claimed there was no danger of floods in downstream areas as the water level had been contained. The India Meteorological Department informed that there is no rainfall warning in the region for the next two days.
3. Armed forces deployed
The following columns have been deployed at Reni Village near Joshimath: 2 x columns from Joshimath and 2x columns from Auli have been deployed. Two columns is on standby. One column has 30-35 army personnel.
Besides, an engineering task force with two JCBs deployed. Control Room has also been established at Joshimath. Total 60 persons of NDRF have been moved with a 5-tonne load from Hindon to Jolly grant Airport in IAF C130. One more C130 and one AN 32 are ready at Hindon for additional NDRF teams. Three IAF Mi-17 have been positioned at JollyGrant to airlift NDRF teams to Joshimath.
4. What PM Modi said
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said he was constantly monitoring the situation in the state. India stands with Uttarakhand, prays for everyone's safety, he said.
5. What Amit Shah said
In a series of tweets, Amit Shah said teams of the NDRF were deployed for rescue and relief operations of the affected people, while additional troops of the force were being airlifted from Delhi. Shah also spoke to CM Rawat and assured him of all possible support to deal with the situation arising from the glacier burst.
6. French President expresses solidarity with India
French President Emmanuel Macron wrote, "France expresses its full solidarity with India, after a glacier burst in the Uttarakhand province, leading to the disappearance of over 100 people. Our thoughts are with them and their families".
7. PM okays Rs 2 lakh ex gratia for kin of those dead
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved an ex-gratia amount of Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of those who lost their lives due to the avalanche. The PMO also said Rs 50,000 would be given to those seriously injured.
8. CM Rawat okays Rs 4 lakh ex gratia for kin of deceased
CM Trivendra Singh Rawat said families of those dead in Sunday's disaster will be given Rs 4 lakh as compensation.
9. CMs pray for Uttarakhand
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday said she was deeply shocked over the disaster that struck Uttarakhand. "Deeply shocked and very saddened at the loss of lives in the disaster that took place in Uttarakhand. My deepest condolences to the families of the deceased. Wishing a speedy and full recovery for those injured in the calamity," she tweeted.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh expressed concerns over developments in Uttarakhand and prayed for the well-being of the people in Chamoli district.
10. Bollywood celebs wish for people's safety
Film personalities, including Bollywood stars Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, Taapsee Pannu, Renuka Shahane, Dia Mirza, Shraddha Kapoor, Riteish Deshmukh, Sonu Sood and MP and actor Sunny Deol expressed concerns for the safety of people after a glacier broke off at Joshimath.Also read: Uttarakhand flood: PM Modi announces Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia for kin of deceased