10 die as avalanche hits BRO near China border

At least 10 bodies were recovered whereas eight persons were unaccounted for on Saturday after an avalanche triggered by an alleged glacier burst hit the Malari-Sumna area in Chamoli district along the India-China border in Uttarakhand on Friday. A communique from the Army said 384 labourers working with the Border Roads Organisation in the area had been rescued. Six of them were critical. There were 430 labourers in two BRO camps in the area which were hit by the avalanche.

“The incident took place around 4 pm on Friday when an avalanche hit a location about 4 km ahead of Sumna on Sumna - Rimkhim road in Uttarakhand. This is on Joshimath - Malari- Girthidobla - Sumna- Rimkhim axis. A BRO detachment and two labour camps exist nearby for road construction work along this axis. An Army camp is located 3 km from Sumna. The area has experienced heavy rains and snow since the last five days which is still continuing,” the communique said.

According to army officials, Border Road Task Force teams from Joshimath were working to clear slides enroute from Bhapkund to Sumna and it was expected to take some more time to clear the complete axis since rains and pressure winds were disrupting the rescue and road clearing operations.

A BRO official from Joshimath said that four choppers along with an avalanche sniffer dog and several rescue personnel were on the ground, involved in rescue work. National Disaster Response Force  and State Disaster Response Force teams were assisting the Army and ITBP in clearing the route leading up to the area.

Chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat also held an aerial inspection of Sumna and adjoining areas on Saturday to take stock of the situation. He said that he spoken with home minister Amit Shah who assured him of the required assistance in the rescue operations.

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