Tragedy struck in India as 20 people have reportedly died and over 177 others missing in the Sunday Himalayan glacier fall in the northern part of the country.
Reports from CNN revealed that a piece of a Himalayan glacier fell into a river and triggered a huge flood in that region.
Since the time the unfortunate incident took place, hundreds of troops, paramilitaries and military helicopters have been sent to the region to help with rescue efforts.
The floodwaters burst open a dam and a deluge of water poured through a valley in the state of Uttarakhand.
Most of the victims of the tragic fall are workers from two hydroelectric projects in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district which made the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on Sunday say the nation was praying for the safety of those in Uttarakhand.
He stated that he has been in communication with authorities to ensure rescue work and relief operations go smoothly.
“India stands with Uttarakhand and the nation prays for everyone’s safety there. Have been continuously speaking to senior authorities and getting updates on NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) deployment, rescue work and relief operations.”
Rescue teams worked through the night to find survivors trapped under the debris.
Footage from Sunday’s disaster shows a fast-moving wall of water and rocks barreling down a narrow gorge and smashing through a dam at the smaller hydroelectric project before surging downstream, wiping out buildings trees and people.
Uttarakhand Police Chief, Ashok Kumar, on Monday said that 20 bodies had been recovered in the affected region while 177 people were still missing from the glacier disaster, including 35 workers who he said are trapped inside a tunnel at the larger, state-owned hydroelectric project.
At the initial stage of the collapse, over 2,500 people across 13 villages we’re said to be cut off.
Kumar, however, said rescuers were able to reach these villages and provide relief materials for them.
A Twitter post from the Uttarakhand State Press Information Bureau, explained that rescue efforts are focused on clearing sludge and debris from the tunnel where 35 workers are believed to be trapped.
One witnesses compared the flash flood to “a scene from a Bollywood film.”
Although experts have not been able to ascertain the cause of the fall, they said it could be as a result of a rise in temperature.
Others have also said that high level of construction along the state’s rivers might be a factor, which in recent years have seen an increasing number of hydroelectric dams, projects and infrastructure connecting them, such as roads and new developments.