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Glacier break triggers avalanche in North India, more than 140 missing

By Zachary Masters

Photo credits NPR, Associated Press

At least 140 people have gone missing and 9 are confirmed dead in Northern India after a glacier break triggered an avalanche that destroyed residents’ homes, as well as a hydroelectric dam. NPR reports this avalanche took place 300 miles north of New Delhi in India’s Uttarakhand State. A large-scale search and rescue operation has been underway to locate the missing 140 people since the disaster occurred at around 10:45 am on Sunday morning, local time.

Several environmentalists have advocated against building damns, power plants and other large structures within the Uttarakhand area. This is due to the area being prone to landslides and flooding because of shrinking glaciers, monsoon rainfalls, and treacherous terrain. It is still unknown what exactly caused the glacier to break away. While global warming has caused Himalayan glaciers to shrink in recent years, February is not the typical time for glaciers to melt in Uttarakhand.

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