India: Rescuers find 11 more bodies after flooding caused by Himalayan glacier break

Eleven more bodies have been found by rescuers searching ravines and valleys in northern India after the sudden collapse of a Himalayan glacier caused massive flooding.

The discoveries raise the death roll to 49 from the incident last Sunday, in which a wall of water and debris smashed into two hydroelectric dams.

Krishan Kumar, a spokesman for India’s National Disaster Response Force, said 155 people were still missing as a result of the flood which devastated the region in Uttarakhand.

Equipped with excavators and shovels, rescuers are continuing to try and clear a tunnel at the Dhauliganga hydroelectric dam project to reach 37 trapped workers, as hopes for their survival fade.

H Gurung, a senior official of the paramilitary Indo Tibetan Border Police, said: “The tunnel is filled with debris, which has come from the river. We are using machines to clear the way.”

Authorities fear many more to be dead and are searching for bodies downstream using boats.

They also walked along river banks and used binoculars to scan for bodies that might have been washed downstream.

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

Officials said the breaking glacier released water trapped behind it as well as sending mud and other debris surging down the mountain and into other bodies of water.

The rescue efforts continue a week after floodwaters, mud and boulders roared down the mountain along the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers, breaking dams, sweeping away bridges and forcing the evacuation of many villages.

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