Four days after a devastating hurricane hit a valley in the Indian Himalayas, hopes are dashed to find more survivors in the muddy rubble of two devastated dams.
So far, 34 bodies have been recovered from the disaster and more than 170 are still missing. At least two bodies were found in the city of Rishikesh, about 150 miles below.
Rescue efforts continue, focusing on a tunnel under the Tapwan Vishnugad hydroelectric dam on the Dholi Ganga river in the state of Uttarakhand, where a violent surge of water surrounded the plant on Sunday morning.
The storm is believed to have hit a hanging glacier caused by an avalanche or landslide, causing the valley to flow into the Chamoli River and topple two hydroelectric dams and several bridges in its path. Is.
There was outrage and protest among the families of the missing that all rescue efforts were focused on the Tapuwan tunnel. The families of 57 people who are still missing from the Rishi Ganga Hydroelectric Dam project, which was first affected by the rapid flow of water and was completely wiped out, have been told by authorities to dig them up. No attempt has been made.
Shoaib Malik, 24, whose father worked at the Rishi Ganga plant but was not at work on the day of the disaster, was helping relatives who buried 57 loved ones in a small tunnel and in the rubble of a power plant. Was buried.
Many workers were from other states, including Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Kashmir, and some families traveled hundreds of miles when they heard of the floods.
“The plight of these families is far worse than I can put into words. They have given up hope of finding anyone alive, so if they find the bodies, it will be enough. But even then it is impossible,” Malik said. Apparently because the rescue team is only focusing on road reconstruction, they are not trying to help dig them.
After protests by more than 100 family members on Wednesday morning, the army gave them two diggers to start digging in the tunnel, but the family had to do the work themselves due to the limited number of rescue workers.
“The forces here are not helping us, so we are defending ourselves,” Malik said. “The company that runs the plant is sending more machinery from Delhi but we can’t wait until then. We are trying to dig the site and find our own people so that we can at least To give the last rites of
No sign of life was heard from the 1.5-mile-long Tapuwan tunnel since the disaster. Dozens of relatives of those trapped inside were praying anxiously at the site.
Among them was 58-year-old Paul Chand, whose son Vineet was an engineer for the Sini hydroelectric dam. “My heart is sinking with every passing moment but I hope I will see my son again and he will come out safe and sound,” he told the Times of India. ۔
Since Sunday, more than 600 paramilitary, police and rescue workers have been working to remove mud, debris and rocks from the tunnel’s entrance, using a combination of heavy machinery and manual labor.
Heat-sensing cameras and drones with sniffer dogs were also brought in and about 100 meters of the tunnel were cleared, but hopes of rescuing any workers were dwindling as night fell on the fourth day of rescue. State Director General of Police Ashok Kumar admitted that “not much progress has been made in the rescue operation”.
After failing to clear the mud from the entrance, rescue workers were trying to access the tunnel through alternative routes, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivinder Singh Rawat said. He said: “They are planning to dig a tunnel and enter with the help of ropes because even after using heavy machinery, they are having difficulty in removing the mud.”
Pope Francis said Wednesday that he was “praying for the missing workers, their families and all the injured and injured.”
The Dalai Lama, a Tibetan spiritual leader, wrote a letter to the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand expressing his sorrow over the incident. “I offer my condolences to those who have lost loved ones, and pray for them. I also pray for the safety and health of those still missing, ”read the letter.
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