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India’s Uttarakhand flood toll rises to 50

Tran Phu Street on Phu Quoc, Vietnam's largest island in the southern Kien Giang Province, is flooded knee-deep on Monday after three days of heavy rains. Photo by Riko. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

NEW DELHI, Feb 14, 2021, India Today. The death toll from the Uttarakhand glacier disaster, triggering massive flooding of the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers on February 7, rose to 50 with the recovery of more bodies from the Tapovan tunnel on Sunday morning. The search operation was intensified following the recovery of more bodies and many are still believed to be trapped inside the sludge-choked Tapovan tunnel, India Today reported.

Rescuers on Saturday began boring a wider and deeper hole into the tunnel at the flood-ravaged Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project in an attempt to reach the over 30 people trapped inside for nearly a week after the Uttarakhand glacier break provoking flash floods in the area and trapping several.

“We are working under a three-pronged strategy to reach those trapped in the tunnel. The hole we drilled yesterday [Friday] is being widened to one foot so as to reach a camera and a pipe inside the silt flushing tunnel where the trapped are said to be located,” General Manager of the NTPC project, RP Ahirwal said.

P Shirwal said a hole with a diameter of one foot will help send in a camera to ascertain the location of the people trapped inside the tunnel after flooding and a pipe to flush out accumulated water.

The marathon rescue operations at the NTPC’s Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project which suffered heavy damages in the Rishi Ganga avalanche entered the eighth day on Sunday. So far, 50 bodies have been recovered from the affected areas while more than 160 people are still missing. More than 20 people are believed to be trapped inside the Tapovan tunnel.

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