Dozens missing, nine killed in India after glacier breaks in Himalayas

At least 140 people are missing and nine were killed in India after a portion of a glacier broke in the Himalayas on Sunday, sending powerful floods into nearby hydroelectric plants.

Part of the Nanda Devi glacier snapped off Sunday morning, dispensing a deluge of trapped water down into other bodies of water in the northern state of Uttarakhand, The Associated Press reported

Rescue crews, including more than 2,000 military members, paramilitary members and police, were deployed to attempt to save those trapped by the disaster that experts attributed to climate change and warming temperatures.  


Vivek Pandey, a spokesperson for the paramilitary Indo Tibetan Border Police, said the surge of water and debris wiped out the hydroelectric plant on the Alaknanda River and damaged a plant that was being built on the Dhauliganga River, according to the AP. 

He said at least 42 workers were stuck in tunnels at the Dhauliganga plant, with 12 of those being rescued. 

“The rescuers used ropes and shovels to reach the mouth of the tunnel. They dug through the debris and entered the tunnel. They are yet to come in touch with the stranded people,” Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, Uttarakhand’s head elected official, said, according to the AP.

The flood led to the evacuations of several villages along both rivers, and Ravi Bejaria, a government spokesman, said it had damaged homes without releasing information on whether residents were injured, missing or killed.

Earlier Sunday, Chief Secretary Om Prakash said 100 to 150 people were feared dead, Reuters reported.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that he is "constantly monitoring the unfortunate situation."


“India stands with Uttarakhand and the nation prays for everyone’s safety there,” he posted.


The state has frequently been hit with flash floods and landslides, including a June 2013 monsoon that killed thousands. Experts have cautioned about plants and projects in the area due to the environmental risks.