Almost 10 days after the Uttarakhand flood disaster, when a glacial fracture spurred massive floods in Dhauli Ganga, efforts are still underway to rescue labourers trapped in a tunnel at the Tapovan hydroelectric project. Two more bodies were recovered early Tuesday, hiking the death toll up to 58. 148 are still assumed missing.
Around 30 workers—who had nowhere to run when the waters came rushing in—were initially feared trapped in the tunnel at the National Thermal Power Corporation’s Tapovan-Vishnugad project site; almost 11 of their bodies have been recovered.
About 600 rescue workers are involved in the operation. Teams of the Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) coordinated the rescue efforts.
The clearing of slush and debris is a painstaking exercise but the multi-agency rescuers are there in large numbers and taking turns to dig in deeper with the help of heavy machines. A team of the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment/DRDO has reached the site for surveillance and reconnaissance.
In a statement, Chamoli Chief Medical Officer G.S. Rana said that all those killed in the glacial disaster in Uttarakhand suffered bodily injuries, and sludge and water entered their lungs.