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Inda confirm seven dead and 170 missing after the rupture of a glacier

LUCKNOW, India - At least seven people have died, six were injured and 170 are missing after the rupture of a glacier in the Himalayas - the highest mountain range in the world, located in Asia - that caused the sudden rise of a river in the North India.

Inda confirm seven dead and 170 missing after the rupture of a glacier

This was reported by the Indian Emergency and Rescue services, through a new official balance provided by the State Center for Disaster Management that reduces the deceased by two compared to previous estimates, but increases the number of disappeared in relation to the 150 previously reported.

"We located at least three bodies in the riverbed. The last balance shows 150 missing persons. There are also 16 or 17 people blocked in a tunnel," a spokesman for the Uttarakhand state police had said in the first statements.

Art from the Nanda Devi glacier in the Tapovan area of ​​the northern state of Uttarakhand broke off Sunday morning and damaged the Rishiganga power plant, according to police officer Rishi Khemka.

The chief secretary of that state reported a similar number that still remains in the estimates: between 100 and 150 people who could have died. The rupture of the glacier, as reported by the agency on its official website, destroyed a hydroelectric dam and caused the flood that made the villages located downstream evacuate.

Uttarakhand Police Chief Ashok Kumar told reporters that more than 50 people working on the dam, the Rishiganga Hydroelectric Project, were feared to have died, although some had been rescued. Kumar also said authorities had evacuated other dams to contain water coming in from the flooded Alakananda river, Reuters reported.

Project representatives confirmed that, at the moment, they are unable to find 150 employees, the director of the State Disaster Response Force, Ridhim Aggarwal, told the Indian network NDTV.

"There was no time to alert anyone"

"It came very quickly, there was no time to alert anyone," Sanjay Singh Rana, who lives up the river in the village of Raini in Uttarakhand, told Reuters. "I felt that even we would be swept away," he added.

For his part, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, wrote on his official Twitter account: "I am constantly monitoring the unfortunate situation in Uttarakhand. India supports Uttarakhand and the nation prays for the safety of everyone there. I have been continuously speaking with authorities and obtaining updates on the deployment of the National Disaster Response Force, rescue work and relief operations. "

Interior Minister Amit Shah said disaster response teams were airlifted to help with relief and rescue. Army soldiers have already been deployed in the area and, with helicopters, they were conducting an aerial reconnaissance of the area, as specified by Reuters.

In the DPA agency they reported that two medical teams and an engineering work group were also there. In addition, that seven other diving teams from the Indian Navy were waiting to carry out relief operations and that some hospitals in the area were being ready to face the emergency.

Uttarakhand is a site prone to flash floods and landslides, according to Reuters. In June 2013, the "Himalayan tsunami" brought record rains with devastating floods that claimed nearly 6,000 lives.

The bid for hydroelectric projects

From Reuters they said that the former Minister of Water Resources of India and high leader of Modi's party, Uma Bharti, criticized the construction of an energy project in the area. "When I was minister, I requested that the Himalayas be a very sensitive place, so energy projects should not be built there on the Ganges and its main tributaries," she said on Twitter, referring to the main river that flows from the mountain.

Environmental experts also called for the cessation of large hydroelectric projects in the state, according to the news agency. "This disaster again requires serious scrutiny of the wave of hydroelectric dam construction in this ecosensitive region," said Ranjan Panda, a volunteer with the Network to Combat Climate Change.

"The government should no longer ignore warnings from experts and stop building hydroelectric projects and extensive road networks in this fragile ecosystem," he added.

Reuters, DPA and AP agencies

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