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2013 again! Flood alert in Uttarakhand, rescue and evacuation of pilgrims begin

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uttarakhand_flood2-621x414Lucknow/Dehradun: The Uttarakhand government on Friday began rescue and evacuation measures for the stranded pilgrims hit by inclement weather during the annual Char Dham Yatra, officials said.

The state has received heavy rainfall in the last 24-hours since Thursday morning, and the meteorological department has indicated no sign of respite from the heavy monsoon showers.

While five Indian Air Force (IAF) choppers have been pressed into service to help and evacuate stranded pilgrims on various routes of the pilgrimage, many army personnel have also been sent to repair bridges that have been swept away, or damaged in the downpour.

Rescue operations by the State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) also began at Govindghat, Ghangharia, Guptkashi and many other places in Chamoli district, district officials told a media outlet.

The Laxman Ganga bridge in Chamoli, has suffered extensive damage and efforts are on to repair it.7995808283_74674b65d4_z

The Alaknanda river, which caused maximum damage in the flash floods of 2013, is once again in spate.

Hundred metres long stretch of Badrinath highway has been washed away in Lambagad, and thousands of pilgrims, tourists and locals are stranded on the route.

Furthermore, 1,500 people were halted in Badrinath alone, whereas, over 800 pilgrims are caught in inclement weather en route to Hemkund Saheb.

The motor bridge at Soneprayag has also been washed away in the torrential downpour and Gangotri highway has also been closed, informed the officials.

The officials also said that Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Harish Rawat was personally monitoring the situation, and added that the first priority of the state government was to ensure the pilgrims’ safety. (IANS)

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Greenland Is Melting

If all the ice covering the world’s largest island were to thaw, sea levels would rise roughly 6 meters

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FILE - An iceberg is seen melting off the coast of Ammasalik, Greenland, July 19, 2007. VOA
  • Greenland is slowly melting
  • This melting adds roughly 1 millimetre of water per year to global sea levels
  • This can mean huge floods in coming years

Like a bowling ball on a skating rink, the black geodesic sphere of the East Greenland Ice-Core Project’s communal living space stands out against the endless white nothingness of the Greenland ice sheet.

 

Iceberg melting can cause huge floods in coming years.
Iceberg melting can cause huge floods in coming years.

But the real action at East GRIP is under the surface. Researchers are drilling through more than 2.5 kilometres of ice, down to the bedrock below. The ice is sliding fast — for a glacier — toward the sea. Scientists here want to know why. The answer may hold clues to the future of the world’s coastal cities.

Greenland is melting. As it melts, it adds roughly 1 millimetre of water per year to global sea levels. And the pace of melting is quickening.

If all the ice covering the world’s largest island were to thaw, sea levels would rise roughly 6 meters. Scientists don’t know how fast, or how likely, that is to happen. East GRIP is looking for evidence to inform both those questions.

The answers are a matter of growing urgency. The seas are rising faster. And the same processes at work on Greenland’s glaciers at the top of the world could send vast sections of Antarctica’s ice sheet into the sea as well, raising ocean levels even further.

Melting of icebergs is increasing sea levels every year. VOA
Melting of icebergs is increasing sea levels every year. VOA

Also Read: Earth was like Mars? Experts find fossils in Greenland dating back to 3.7 Billion Years

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Scientists studying the rapid changes gather in the small Greenland town of Kangerlussuaq, a former U.S. military base built during World War II. Through the Cold War, this outpost supplied remote radar sites watching a nuclear attack coming over the pole.

These days, military transport planes fly scientists and their equipment across 1,000 kilometres of Arctic ice to East GRIP. They make research possible here and at other far-flung scientific outposts on the vast Greenland ice sheet.

Departing from Kangerlussuaq, VOA visited East GRIP and other remote corners of Greenland with the 109th Airlift Wing of the U.S. Air National Guard for a firsthand look at science in action at the leading edge of climate change. VOA

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