Search and rescue operations for the missing underway in Chamoli.

Search and rescue operations for the missing underway in Chamoli.

Uttarakhand flash flood: Death toll increases to 61

District magistrate Swati Bhadauria said 34 of the bodies have been identified and 14 [of the bodies] have been recovered from the 1.7km-long tunnel at the NTPC’s power project in Tapovan

Search and rescue operations for the missing underway in Chamoli.
Search and rescue operations for the missing underway in Chamoli.

Rescuers have so far recovered 61 bodies from Uttarakhand’s flash flood-hit Chamoli district even as 143 people remain missing in the aftermath of the worst natural disaster in the state in years, officials said on Friday.

District magistrate Swati Bhadauria said 34 of the bodies have been identified. “…Fourteen [of the bodies] have been recovered from the 1.7km-long tunnel at the NTPC’s power project in Tapovan which is in the focus of the rescue operation,” said Bhadauria. “The rescuers have cleared the muck up to about 146 metres inside the tunnel but are facing difficulty due to the outflow of heavy sludge.”

The rescuers were also scanning the Alaknanda river downstream of the disaster site to search for more bodies.

Praveen Alok, a spokesperson for the State Disaster Relief Force, said about 70 of their personnel are searching for bodies in the river in Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Tehri Garhwal, and Pauri Garhwal. “After recovering the bodies, their DNA samples are being collected….to ascertain their identities…”

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