More than two days have passed since the flash flood struck Uttarakhand's Chamoli district. So far, 32 bodies have been recovered and over 170 people are still missing. Hopes of finding any more survivors at the two power project sites -- Tapovan and Rishi Ganga are dimming but agencies race against time to rescue those trapped.
According to the State Emergency Operation Centre, around 30 workers feared trapped inside a tunnel at the Tapovan power project.
On Tuesday, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat visited Lata in Chamoli district on Tuesday to meet the residents of the avalanche-hit villages. Rawat, who reached Tapovan on Monday evening to review rescue efforts, undertook an aerial survey of the affected areas on Tuesday and also met 12 workers who were rescued from the tunnel on Sunday evening.
Talking to reporters, Rawat said the priority is to get to those trapped inside the tunnel and save as many lives as possible.
The government said that 13 border villages of Joshimath block were cut off following the avalanche in Rishi Ganga river on Sunday. The villages that lost road connectivity in the wake of the calamity are Raini Palli, Pang, Lata, Suraithota, Suki, Bhalgaon, Tolma, Fagrasu, Long Segdi, Gahar, Bhangyul, Juwagwad and Jugju.
Meanwhile, additional heavy machines are being deployed at the Tapovan tunnel to expedite the process of clearing tonnes of debris inside the tunnel blocking the path of rescue personnel.
In Parliament, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said the Centre is working in close coordination with the Uttarakhand government. "Rescue operation to evacuate these people is going on a war-footing and all-out efforts are being made for searching missing persons," he said.
Earlier on Sunday, a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier possibly burst through its banks in Chamoli. It triggered an avalanche and a deluge that ripped through the Alaknanda river system in the upper reaches of the ecologically fragile Himalayas. Experts, however, are still trying to determine the exact cause of the disaster in Joshimath.