As rescuers continue round-the-clock operation to pull out those believed to be stuck inside a tunnel in Tapovan area after last Sunday's (February 7) flash floods, a geologist has alerted the authorities of impending danger by a lake formed by debris of the avalanche. The lake has blocked the path of Rishiganga river.
In a video shared by Garhwal University Geologist Dr Naresh Rana, it can be clearly seen that the river flow has been blocked by debris resulting in formation of a huge lake. The breach of the lake could trigger another devastating flash flood in the region and hamper the rescue work downstream.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said that the government is aware about the lake and keeping a close watch on the situation.
"We are looking into it and keeping a close tab on it. We need to be alert and not panic," CM Rawat said.
Meanwhile, a team has been sent on the location to ascertain the on-ground situation. "We have sent a team of SDRF and NDRF for recce after we received information about the formation of a lake in the area above Raini village," DGP Uttarakhand Ashok Kumar said.
"There's a possibility that water is being accumulated above Raini village near Tapovan area. Many aerial recces have been done. An 8-member SDRF team has been sent today on foot to assess the situation. Further action to be taken after evaluation," Ridhim Aggarwal, DIG SDRF said.
Tapovan Tunnel Rescue Update
Rescuers at the Tapovan tunnel on Thursday shifted their strategy are now also focusing on drilling through the hardened debris in the choked tunnel in Chamoli district, rather than just shifting mounds of silt and sludge heaped there by the sudden flood.
The aim for now is to set up a “life-saving system”, possibly to pump oxygen into the blocked tunnel.
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and the Army are part of the multi-agency rescue effort, which continues even as hopes of finding the trapped workers alive recede with each passing hour.
The death toll in the disaster has now reached 37, and nearly 200 remain missing.