These images send shivers down the spine Last Sunday, February 7, in the district of Chamoli, India, a large piece of a Himalayan glacier broke away. Overlooking the Alaknanda River which it fed into, the immense mass caused the river to overflow, generating a gigantic torrent, which was filmed by tourists present there. The images, posted on social networks, quickly went around the world.
An unmitigated disaster
The water has swept away everything in its path: roads, bridges, houses, two power plants and above all causing a dam to fail. A witness told Indian television:
There was a cloud of dust when the water came through. The earth was shaking like an earthquake.
A more than provisional toll lists 7 dead and 125 to 200 missing.
Most of these missing people are workers at the two power plants that were engulfed by the disaster. About 20 employees are 'stuck in a tunnel' in one of the power plants.
To rescue any potential survivors, hundreds of soldiers and paramilitaries were dispatched to the scene, with helicopters and military planes. But the area is difficult to access, especially since the main road was washed away by the flood.
Following this disaster, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a point of reacting, by confiding on Twitter:
India stands alongside the inhabitants of Uttarakhand and the nation prays for the safety of all in this region.
For his part, the founder of the environmental NGO Swechha, deplores that this event is a 'grim reminder' of climate change and the 'inconsistent development of roads, railways and power plants in ecologically fragile areas.'
Find out more images in the video at the top of our article.