New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Massive floods and landslides were triggered in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district after a glacier broke off at Joshimath, claiming 18 lives. While 16 people have been rescued by the officials so far, more than 200 are still missing in one of the worst tragedies in the Himalayan region since the 2013 Kedarnath floods.

Hundreds of ITBP, NDRF, Army, Air Force and SDRF personnel are engaged in the rescue operations which has been halted by the rising water levels in the Dhauli Ganga, Rishi Ganga, and Alaknanda rivers.

While alerting people living near river banks, the officials have said that several power projects, including under-construction Rishiganga hydro project and 530MW Dhauliganga hydel project, have been damaged by the floods.

"The maximum water level at the Tapovan barrage is 1,803 metres but as per initial reports, the water level crossed 1,808 metres, causing the breakage," The Times of India quoted Piyoosh Rautela, DMMC executive director as saying.

Officials monitoring the water levels have said that there is no danger of downstream flooding currently but have issued an alert for Srinagar, Rishikesh, Jollygrant and Dehradun. An alert has also been issued for Uttar Pradesh where the Yogi Adityanath government has asked district magistrates (DMs) to monitor water levels 24/7.

PM Modi, Amit Shah take stock of situation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have taken stock of the situation and have assured the state government of providing all necessary assistance. The Prime Minister, who was in West Bengal on Sunday, has also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the kin of those killed in the incident.

"PM Modi has approved an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each from PMNRF for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the tragic avalanche caused by a Glacier breach in Chamoli, Uttrakhand. Rs. 50,000 would be given to those seriously injured," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) tweeted.

CM Rawat inspects situation in Chamoli

Chief Minister Rawat also went to the line of action on Sunday and inspected the situation on ground zero. Appealing people not to pay heed to rumours, Rawat shared contact numbers -- 1070 or 9557444486 -- on his Twitter for those who are injured or stranded in affected areas of the district.

"People are being evacuated from the areas near Alaknanda. As a precautionary measure, the flow of Bhagirathi River has been stopped. To prevent the flow of water of Alaknanda, Srinagar Dam and Rishikesh Dam have been emptied. SDRF is on alert. I am leaving for the spot," he said.

'No rainfall in affected regions'

In a big relief to rescue operations, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that dry weather will prevail over affected regions of Uttarakhand on February 7 and 8. However, the weather department has said that the northern part of the state likely to receive snowfall on February 9 and 10.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma