At least eight people were killed after a glacier broke off near the Indo-China border in Sumna village of Uttarakhand’s Chamoli Garhwal district on Friday, 23 April, the Indian Army said in a statement.
Six people are also critically injured and are being evacuated, the army said.
The bodies of the deceased have been rescued by the army. They have also managed to rescue nearly 384 people who were working at a Border Roads Organisation (BRO) camp in the area till late in the evening. They were involved in road-construction activities in the area.
The army in a statement said that an avalanche hit a location about 4 kms ahead of Sumna on Sumna-Rimkhim road in Uttarakhand at 4 pm on Friday which is on the Joshimath-Malari-Girthidobla-Sumna-Rimkhim axis.
“The avalanche didn’t hit ITBP camp. Army camp is safe too. Two BRO camps had 430 people, out of which 384 have returned. Search is on for the rest. A total of 8 bodies recovered from there so far.”Ashok Kumar, Uttarakhand DGP
The glacier burst took place because of heavy snowfall in the region.
Army officials further said that the road access is cut off at four to five locations due to multiple landslides and Border Roads Task Force teams from Joshimath are working to clear slides all the way from Bhapkund to Sumna since Friday evening.
They also said that it will be another six to eight hours before the entire axis is cleared.
Alert Issued by Uttarakhand Government
The Uttarakhand government on Friday issued an alert after the news of the glacier burst broke.
Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat on Friday tweeted that he is in touch with the BRTO and district administration after he received the news about a glacier burst in the Sumna village in Niti Valley.
In another tweet, Rawat said that the Uttarakhand government has issued instructions to stop work at NTPC and other hydroelectric plants at night in order to prevent any such incident.
Rawat had also said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah was informed about the incident, who assured his help to Uttarakhand and has instructed the ITBP to be vigilant.
The central government is also monitoring the situation and has alerted all the stakeholders for rescue operations, reported IANS.
The incident comes two months after a glacier burst led to a massive flash floods in Dhauli Ganga river in Chamoli district in February that caused huge devastation and left dozens dead.
(With inputs from ANI and IANS)