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2021 Uttarakhand glacial outburst flood

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2021 Uttarakhand glacial outburst
India UK.svg
The state of Uttarakhand within India
Date7 February 2021
LocationUttarakhand
CauseUndetermined
Deaths26 dead, over 200 missing
Property damageNot yet estimated

At approximately 10:45 a.m. IST on 7 February 2021,[1] a flooding disaster occurred in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand in India along the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers.[2][3] It is believed that a landslide, avalanche or a glacial lake outburst flood was the cause of the incident.[4] More than 26 were killed and more than 200 are missing.[5][6]

Background[edit source | edit]

Scientists have warned that climate change is melting the Himalayan glaciers at an alarming pace, more than twice on average than the 20th century. The glaciers, which supply water to a vast number of people, could be mostly gone by the end of the century. “This looks very much like a climate change event,” said Anjal Prakash, a professor at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. “The glaciers are melting due to global warming.”[7][8][9][10]

Cause[edit source | edit]

The flooding was caused when a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off early on 7 February, releasing the water trapped behind the ice in a glacial lake outburst flood.[11] The cause for the glacier falling apart may be due to global warming or as a result of construction projects in the area. The source, likely a proglacial lake dammed by glacial till that was deposited as the Himalayan glaciers retreat, could have been hidden beneath a layer of ice that masked it from satellite imaging.[12] Other scientists have noted that satellite images suggest it may have been an landslide that triggered events.[13][14]

Damages[edit source | edit]

The Rishiganga power project on the Rishiganga River, a tributary to the Dhauliganga River, was damaged and 35 laborers working on the project are missing.[15] The district of Chamoli in Uttarakhand appeared to have been hit hardest by the surging Dhauliganga River.[16] A dam at the confluence of the Rishiganga and Dhauliganga in the Tapovan area was washed away by the floodwaters.[17][18] As per Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, flash floods also impacted a much larger hydro project owned by the NTPC with around 176 laborers working on a project which had two tunnels where those workers were trapped.[19] Senior police officials told media that a bridge in the Tapovan area that connected 13 villages was washed away in the avalanche.[20] Some experts have suggested reduced snowfall this winter may have played a part in the disaster.[21]

Relief efforts[edit source | edit]

Many villages were earlier evacuated as authorities emptied two dams farther down the river to stop the flood waters from reaching towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh.[22] Two C-130J Super Hercules with 3 companies of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in the rescue mission.[23] According to the director general of the NDRF, the rescue efforts could take up to 2 days. [24] Emergency crews managed to rescue 16 workers who had been trapped inside a tunnel. Another 35 to 40 workers are thought to be trapped in a second tunnel.[25] At the Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower project site which is being built by the NTPC 5km (3 miles) downstream, rescuers have been attempting to cave their way into a tunnel in order to rescue at least 30 workers who were said to be trapped. [26]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. "Uttarakhand flood wreaks death, damage". The Indian Express. 8 February 2021. Retrieved 8 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. "Uttarakhand news live: Glacier bursts in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district". The Times of India. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  3. "Glacier bursts in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district, causing flash flood in Dhauliganga: Highlights - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  4. "India floods: Scores missing after glacier smashes Uttarakhand dam". BBC News. 7 February 2021. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  5. "200 missing and feared dead after glacier collapse in India". NBC News. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  6. "At least 26 dead, scores missing after glacier collapse unleashes a wall of water in India". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  7. Schultz, Kai; Sharma, Bhadra (4 February 2019). "Rising Temperatures Could Melt Most Himalayan Glaciers by 2100 (Published 2019)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  8. Sengupta, Somini (19 June 2019). "Rising Temperatures Ravage the Himalayas, Rapidly Shrinking Its Glaciers (Published 2019)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  9. "Uttarakhand flood: 2019 study warned Himalayan glaciers melting at alarming speed". India Today. 7 February 2021. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  10. Masih, Niha. "Glacier fractures in the Himalayas, causing deadly flood; more than 150 feared missing". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  11. Banerjee, Biswajeet; Jain, Rishabh R. (8 February 2021). "Rescuers in India digging for 37 trapped in glacier flood". Associated Press. Retrieved 8 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. Sinha, Amitabh (8 February 2021). "Glacial lake burst or avalanche? Scientists to leave for Uttarakhand disaster site today". The Indian Express. Retrieved 8 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. Sandhya Ramesh (8 February 2021). "Uttarakhand disaster likely caused by landslide, not glacial outburst, satellite images reveal". ThePrint. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  14. Dave Petley, Dan Shugar (8 February 2021). "Uttarakhand disaster likely caused by landslide, not glacial outburst, satellite images reveal". AGU. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  15. Staff, Scroll. "Uttarakhand glacier burst: Over 100 missing, power plant damaged in Chamoli". Scroll.in. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  16. Mashal, Mujib; Kumar, Hari (7 February 2021). "Glacier Bursts in India, Leaving More Than 100 Missing in Floods". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  17. "Rishiganga hydro project, Tapovan dam washed away by glacier burst in Uttarakhand". Times Now. 8 February 2021. Retrieved 8 February 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. "Uttarakhand: Eleven dead after India glacier bursts dam". BBC News. 8 February 2021. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  19. CNN, Akanksha Sharma, Vedika Sud and Swati Gupta. "More than 150 missing and 14 dead as burst glacier triggers flash floods in India". CNN. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  20. "Uttarakhand glacier disaster: Fourteen dead after India glacier bursts dam". BBC News. 8 February 2021. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  21. "Glacier breaks in Chamoli, experts blame low snowfall". www.downtoearth.org.in. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  22. "Glacier breaks in India's north; flood kills 9, 140 missing". AP NEWS. 7 February 2021. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  23. ANI. "Centre will extend all possible help to U'khand govt to tackle flood situation, says Amit Shah". BW Businessworld. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  24. "Uttarakhand glacier disaster: Eighteen dead after India glacier bursts dam". Cite has empty unknown parameter: |1= (help)
  25. "Uttarakhand: Eleven dead after India glacier bursts dam". BBC News. 8 February 2021. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  26. "Many die, hundreds missing as Himalayan glacier bursts in India". Cite has empty unknown parameter: |1= (help)

Template:Disasters in Uttarakhand Template:Natural disasters in India

Coordinates: 30°25′26″N 79°55′55″E / 30.424°N 79.932°E / 30.424; 79.932

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