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Uttarakhand glacier burst: Rescue teams recovered 50 bodies out of the 204 missing

New Delhi: A week after the Uttarakhand disaster, authorities have recovered 50 bodies so far out of the 204 missing persons. Rescue teams on Sunday recovered five bodies from the Tapovan tunnel with the help of machines and drones. It is the first time that bodies have been recovered from the tunnel, where 30-35 persons are feared to be trapped. They have also recovered five bodies from Raini village.

Uttarakhand police have so far ascertained the identity of 25 recovered bodies. Police said 23 severed limbs have also been recovered from different parts of Chamoli district. Garhwal Commissioner Ravinath Raman said a body part has been recovered from Raini village.

Sources said DNA samples have been collected from the recovered bodies for identification and they have been kept at CHC, Joshimath, District Hospital, Gopeshwar, and CHC, Karnaprayag. The articles recovered from the bodies like ornaments and other identity marks have been photographed and videographed.

An aerial survey of the Rishi Ganga River was conducted by five DRDO, four Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS) scientists and two combat robotics. On Saturday, the union home ministry granted clearance to NDRF to use special drones to reach inaccessibly areas where people are likely to be stranded.

An alarm and hooter system has been installed and made operational for early warning system in the area to avoid further tragedy, an MHA official added. ITBP on Sunday said the rescue teams have been facing difficulties to reach the people trapped at the Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project site.

Search and rescue operations at Tapovan have been intensified following the recovery of bodies from the tunnel. Officials said they expect the toll to go up once drilling work is completed. As many as 184 bodies of cattle were also recovered during the operation, they added.

A team of SDRF headed by its commandant Navneet Bhullar reached near the site of lake formation in the higher reaches of the mountain.

Meanwhile, in their preliminary report, scientists have stated that the glacial lake formed due to the avalanche had begun releasing water, reducing chances of a breach or a fresh flash flood, officials told ET.

Till Saturday, electricity was restored in 11 villages and water supply has been restored in 10 of the 13 villages that were cut off due to the glacier burst.

Restoration work of five damaged bridges has been initiated by PWD and BRO, the home ministry’s control room was informed by the state authorities. On February 7, a glacier broke in the Tapovan-Reni area of Chamoli district which led to massive flooding in Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers and damaged a Rishiganga small hydro project of 13.2 MW. The flash flood also affected the under construction 520 MW NTPC Hydro Power Project downstream at Tapovan on the river Dhauli Ganga.

The state has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh each for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the incident.

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