Was it a landslide, a glacial burst or a man-made disaster that triggered the sudden flash flood in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district? It is yet to be ascertained as to what exactly caused the disaster that led to the death of at least 19 people, while around 200 others are reported missing as of Monday, 8 February.
All hands are on the deck to rescue those who are feared to be trapped in the Tapovan tunnel. The ITBP, the Indian Army, the IAF, the NDRF, and the NCMC have been deployed for the search and rescue operations. The death toll is expected to rise as bodies of the labourers working in the flood path are still being recovered.
At least two under-construction hydro power projects in Chamoli district were severely impacted by the flood, with fatalities reported among personnel deployed at these sites.
Several other projects on the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi river basins in northwestern Uttarakhand have also been impacted by the flood.
While the Central government has stated that a landslide at a high altitude caused the flash flood, several experts have pointed their fingers towards developmental projects like hydro plants, which may be causing harm to the ecology of Uttarakhand.
What led to this disaster? Could it have been caused by climate change or human intervention?