The massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river triggered by a glacial burst in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district on Sunday came as a grim reminder of the Kedarnath deluge of 2013 which led to widespread devastation in the ecologically fragile Himalayan region.
A devastating natural disaster in the form of torrential rains of unseen magnitude had struck Kedarnath on 16-17 June in 2013.
The banks of the Chorabari lake in Kedarnath collapsed due to a cloudburst that had resulted in a major flash flood causing widespread destruction in Uttarakhand and led to heavy losses to infrastructure, agriculture lands, human and animal lives.
However, unlike the Kedarnath tragedy which struck after a downpour, the flash flood on Sunday occurred on a bright and sunny morning which helped in relief and rescue operations by police, State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel in the affected areas.
Contrary to the bad weather that delayed launch of relief and rescue operations after the Kedarnath deluge whose magnitude could not be immediately realised, the clear weather on Sunday allowed helicopters to reach the affected areas quickly.
Uttarakhand Director General of Police Ashok Kumar said all efforts at the moment are focused on tracing those who went missing after the flood.
Over 150 labourers working at a power project in Tapovan-Reni are feared dead, an Indo-Tibetan Border Police spokesperson said while quoting the project-in charge. Three bodies have been recovered so far.
According to the Uttarakhand police chief, the power project has been swept away completely.
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat also lost no time in rushing to the affected areas of Tapovan and Raini to take stock of the situation on the ground. He said relief and rescue operations are being carried out on a war footing in the affected areas.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah are constantly in touch with the chief minister assuring of all possible help.
Homes along the way of the deluge were swept away as the waters rushed down the mountainsides in a raging torrent.
There were fears of damage in human settlements downstream, including in heavily populated areas. Many villages were evacuated and people taken to safer areas.
Connectivity with some border posts was 'totally restricted' due to a bridge collapsing near Reni village, an Indo-Tibetan Border Police spokesperson said.