At least three people have been killed and 150 missing after a river flooded in northern India, triggered by a glacier rupture in the Himalayas on Sunday, police said. “And there are 16 or 17 people stuck in a tunnel,” added a Uttarakhand state police spokesperson. A piece of the glacier broke off and slipped into the Dhauliganga River. The sudden rising waters swept away everything in its path in this narrow valley, including a dam, bridges and roads, according to images taken by terrified locals.
Most of the 150 missing are employees of the Tapovan power station, near a dam that was ruptured by the flood. Rescue teams were trying to evacuate dozens of villages in the region as a matter of urgency and to reach the tunnel where people were trapped. Uttarakhand is an Indian state located in the Himalayan massif and where the Ganges takes its source.
Most of the villages being evacuated are located on hills overlooking the river, which is a tributary of the Ganges. Authorities have emptied two dams as a precaution to prevent raging waters from swelling the Ganges in the towns of Rishikesh and Haridwar, and have banned residents of both towns from approaching the shores of the holy river. “India stands by the people of Uttarakhand and the nation prays for the safety of all in this region,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter.