Scores feared dead as glacier collapse unleashes a wall of water

“Climate change-driven erratic weather patterns like increased snowfall and rainfall [and] warmer winters have led to the melting point of a lot of snow.”

Climate scientists on “tipping point”

07:34

First published on February 8, 2021 / 7:56 AM A view of the damaged Dhauliganga hydropower project at Reni village in Chamoli district after a portion of Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Tapovan area of the northern state of Uttarakhand, February 7, 2021. KK Productions via AP

Experts were quick to say that the partial collapse of the glacier on Sunday could be linked to climate change. 

“This looks very much like a climate change event as the glaciers are melting due to global warming,” said Dr. #Dhauliganga #Chamoli#UttarakhandGlacialBurst pic.twitter.com/KghoyyHheP— ITBP (@ITBP_official) February 8, 2021

“Some people inside the tunnel are probably alive or half alive, we are trying to rescue them,” Uttarakhand state’s Director General of Police Ashok Kumar told CBS News. Kumar confirmed to CBS News that the bodies of 26 people had been recovered. At least 25 people had been rescued as of Monday afternoon local time, including one man seen being pulled out of a tunnel covered in mud. 

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Authorities evacuated thousands of people from several villages close to another affected river, the Alaknanda, but authorities said on Monday that the flood threat was over. About 150 people who were working on a large, under-construction power plant, and 21 more from the Rishiganga facility further upstream were missing. Farooq Azam, a professor of glaciology and hydrology. Zargar

Updated on: February 8, 2021 / 4:00 PM
/ CBS News

Glacier collapse kills dozens in India

Glacier collapse kills dozens in India

01:52

New Delhi — Almost 30 people were confirmed dead and nearly 200 more still missing on Monday after a huge chunk of a Himalayan glacier in northern India’s Uttarakhand state broke off and fell into a river, triggering an avalanche and a massive deluge that washed away dams, hydroelectric power plants and several bridges and roads. 

Most of the missing were believed to have been washed away from two hydroelectric power stations hit along the Dhauli Ganga river. Video from the scene showed heavy construction equipment shifting mud and military helicopters circling above teams on the ground. Main entrance of the Tapovan tunnel being cleared by ITBP personnel with the help of machines. This frame grab from video provided by KK Productions shows a massive flood of water, mud and debris flowing at Chamoli District after a portion of Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Tapovan area of the northern state of Uttarakhand, India, February 7, 2021. At least 26 dead, scores missing after glacier collapse unleashes a wall of water in India

By Arshad R. AP

The Rishaganga power station was operating when it was completely destroyed by the wall of water unleashed by the Nanda Devi glacier’s partial collapse on Sunday. 

There was a frantic rescue operation underway to reach more than 30 people trapped in a 1.5-mile-long tunnel at one of the facilities, where mud and debris were making the operation difficult. Every life matters, every hand helps!We carries out rescue operations in #Chamoli, Uttarakhand @Ashokkumarips pic.twitter.com/Dpzbm5EsJX— Uttarakhand Police (@uttarakhandcops) February 7, 2021

Hundreds of paramilitary soldiers and police were sent in to help with the rescue operations. He told CBS News that the impact of global warming on glaciers was well documented and that a recent report showed temperatures were rising in the Himalayan region. “There is no doubt that global warming has resulted in the warming of the region,” said Dr. Anjal Prakash, a lead researcher with the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Food was being air dropped onto areas that were cut off by road due when the floodwater washed away bridges and roads. “India stands with Uttarakhand and the nation prays for everyone’s safety,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter. He said rescue operations would likely continue at least through Tuesday morning. More than 6,000 people were killed, left missing or presumed dead in 2013 when heavy monsoon rains triggered massive flooding. Environmentalists have long raised concerns over large dams being built on the state’s rivers and campaigned against development on its flood plains.