A worker being rescued from tunnel by the ITBP team

A view of damaged dam after a Himalayan glacier broke and crashed into the dam at Raini Chak Lata village in Chamoli district in the northern state of Uttarakhand, India, February 7, 2021

NEW DELHI: After a glacier broke off in Joshimath in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, the Army has been pressed into service to carry out rescue operations in flood-affected areas, official sources said on Sunday.

The government has asked the Army to help district administration and disaster teams of the central and state government in their rescue operations. Further, Indian Air Force assets, both fixed wing as well as rotary, are on standby to provide all possible assistance to the affected persons.

Troops have been moved towards the flood-affected areas in Dhauliganga, where the massive flood occurred after the glacier broke.

The Army aviation wing has also been pressed into service to carry out an aerial survey and evacuate trapped people. "One advance light helicopter and two Cheetah helicopters are evacuating persons in the area," an Army official said.

Four columns of around 400 personnel of the Army have been moved to flood-affected areas, the official added.

"Indian Air Force C-130 and AN-32 aircraft are being used to airlift National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel," said a senior IAF official.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the situation in Uttarakhand and spoke to Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and other top officials. He took stock of the rescue and relief work.

"Am constantly monitoring the unfortunate situation in Uttarakhand. India stands with Uttarakhand and the nation prays for everyone's safety there. Have been continuously speaking to senior authorities and getting updates on NDRF deployment, rescue work and relief operations," he tweeted.

The Uttarakhand CM said that the natural disaster was reported from Chamoli district. "The district administration, police and disaster management departments have been directed to deal with the situation. Do not pay attention to any kind of rumours. The state government is taking all necessary steps," he wrote on Twitter.

The incident was reported near Reni village, 26 km from Joshimath. The Dhauliganga river got flooded and washed away many houses situated on the river banks.

The ITBP earlier said that there was some cloudburst or breaching of the reservoir at around 10 am, which resulted in the flooding in Dhauliganga -- one of the six source streams of the Ganga river. The 85-km-long river meets the Alaknanda river at Vishnuprayag at the base of Joshimath mountain in Uttarakhand.

Earlier report said that several labourers working at the Rishi Ganga hydroelectric power project were feared missing after the glacier broke off.

A dam of the Tapovan power project was breached and feared to have been washed away.

"Casualties feared. Hundreds of ITBP men rushed for rescue," the ITBP said.