Another Glacier Break In India Kills 15, With 3 Still Missing

Deadly Avalanche Occurred Close To Site Of February Burst

5 May 2021 by The Water Diplomat
Delhi, India

Map of area

Another glacier break in India's Uttarakhand region close to the border with China has left 15 dead and 3 missing. The victims are all workers from the Border Roads Organisation (BRO). State police say that 402 BRO workers were in the area at the time. Rescue efforts are ongoing to find the 3 people still unaccounted for.

According to local media reports, several people are being treated in hospital for their injuries.

The avalanche occurred 23 April close to Sumna village in Chamoli district, just 60 km away from the site where a torrent of water, mud and rock from a break in the Nanda Devi glacier killed 80 people and caused widespread flooding in February along the Dhauliganga river.

Sumna is located close to the confluence of the Girthigad and Kiogad rivers, which originate from the Dhauliganga.

What triggered the latest glacier break remains unclear, while investigations are still ongoing into the reasons behind February's disaster, which led to the collapse of the Rishiganga hydroelectric dam and damaged another under construction further down the Dhauliganga.

The Garhwal Himalayas in Uttarakhand state are prone to flash floods and landslides, leading to calls from environmental groups to review the power projects in the area amid concerns that climate change is increasing the frequency of such events.

Following February's disaster, Hridayesh Joshi, author of ‘Rage Of The River – The Untold Story Of The Kedarnath Disaster', told the Guardian: “In this Himalayan area, there are 10,000 big and small glaciers so we should be very careful about building any development projects in this ecologically fragile region, especially as climate change makes it even more fragile.”

Image credit: Google Maps

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