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Himalayan glacier crashed into Indian dam, 100-150 feared dead

Christian Fernsby |
As many as 150 people were feared dead after a Himalayan glacier broke and crashed into an Indian dam early on Sunday, with floods forcing the evacuation of villages downstream.

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Topics: HIMALAYA    INDIA   

Water levels on the Dhauliganga river in northern India have surged violently following a reported landslide. Videos posted to social media showed a small hydroelectric power station being submerged by a raging torrent.

The river is a tributary of the Ganges, running through steep gorges in a sparsely populated area. Despite the low population however, flash flooding in the region in 2013 led to hundreds of fatalities further downstream.

Parts of Chamoli district were reportedly being evacuated, according to the Hindustan Times, and a team of rescue workers had already reached the area.

“The actual number has not been confirmed yet,” but 100 to 150 people were feared dead, Om Prakash, chief secretary of Uttarakhand state where the incident happened, told Reuters.

“It came very fast, there was no time to alert anyone,” Sanjay Singh Rana, who lives on the upper reaches of Raini village, told Reuters by phone. “I felt that even we would be swept away.”

Locals fear that people working at a nearby hydro-power project had been swept away, as well as villagers roaming near the river looking for firewood or grazing their cattle, Rana said.

“We have no idea how many people are missing,” he said.

India has also put many of its northern districts on high alert.

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