Avalanche in Uttarakhand's Chamoli kills 8

Kolkata, India: At least eight people have died in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district on Friday after an avalanche was triggered in the Niti Valley, near the Indo-China border, media reports confirm. 

"Information was received about a part of a glacier collapsing beyond Sumna Chawki in the Niti valley," BRO officials said. Apart from the eight dead, 384 Border Roads Organization (BRO) workers have been rescued.

Rescue operations were disrupted last night due to inclement weather, but they resumed this morning. A BRO official reported the glacier collapsed where workers were engaged in road building.

The Army said in a statement, at around 4 p.m. on April 23, an avalanche reached a position about 4 km ahead of Sumna on the Sumna-Rimkhim road in Uttarakhand.

What caused the avalanche?

We The World Magazine could not independently clarify if the avalanche was triggered by human activities like road-building persistent in the area.

Apart from natural triggers like heavy snowfall, earthquakes, wind, rainfall, and even a rise in temperature, avalanches are known to be triggered by human activities like skiing, snowmobiling, and vibration from construction machinery. 

According to District Disaster Management Officer NK Joshi, there are no residents in the Sumna region, only ITBP and BRO camps. Sumna is located in the Tapovan region of Chamoli's Joshimath, approximately 40 kilometers from Raini Village.

Also read | 2021 Uttarakhand floods ring alarm bell in Kashmir

Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat reportedly directed to halt work at night in order to avoid any untoward incidents, according to Live Mint.

He has also directed the district administration to gather as much information as possible about the incident.

"A glacier burst has been reported in Sumna, Niti Valley. I have released an alert in this regard. I am in constant touch with the district administration and BRO," Rawat said in a tweet on Friday night.

In February this year, at least 80 people were killed and 170 were missing after a glacier broke off, causing a flood in the Chamoli District's Dhauliganga river.

The floods destroyed several important projects, including the well-known Rishiganga Hydropower Project.

Glacier bursts and avalanches are common in the icy kingdoms of Uttarakhand. But in the recent years, the perils from the natural disaster has become aggravated, thanks to unbarred development and climate change. 

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