On Sunday morning, the Chamoli district in Uttarakhand and the surrounding area faced the wrath of nature. A glacier break caused a flash flood leading to the destruction of life and property. The areas on the way of this calamity got flooded with water and rock sediments.
Rescue operations are still going on in the area and a handful of lives have been saved. However, many people still remain missing and the fear of the casualty toll rising is hovering over the area. Medical assistance is being provided for the injured on behalf of the Uttarakhand government.
Apart from that, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has also expressed his condolences to the families who lost their loved ones to this tragedy. He has approved ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the next kin of those who have lost their lives in the horrific incident. Rs 50,000 will also be given to those who are seriously injured.
Meanwhile, many researchers are analysing the series of events and are also accessing the damage caused because of the tragic avalanche triggered by a glacier break.
As of now, medium resolution satellite imagery from Planet Labs is out. The imagery shows ‘before and after’ satellite picture of the tragedy site. In the images making rounds on the internet, we can see a ridge-line near Joshimath from where the ice, snow, and rubble collapsed into the narrow river-valley of Dhauliganga. This fast-flowing river further joins the Alaknanda River.
The first satellite image is dated February 6, 2021, a day before the natural wrath. In the imagery, the ridge-line appears intact. The second picture is on the day of the disaster, February 7, 2021. This imagery shows vast areas of the ridge-line stripped off snow and ice.
In the imagery of February 7, dust from the impact of ice and snow crashing into the rive-valley is also clearly visible.
The glacier break in Uttarakhand has completely washed-off the Tapovan hydro-power plant. The cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 3000 crore.