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'Had It Not Been For Her Warning': How Woman's Frantic Calls to Son Saved 25 Lives in U'khand Tragedy

Damaged dam of the Rishi Ganga Power Project, after a glacier broke off in Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district causing a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river on February 7, 2021. (File photo)

Damaged dam of the Rishi Ganga Power Project, after a glacier broke off in Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district causing a massive flood in the Dhauli Ganga river on February 7, 2021. (File photo)

On February 7, a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier possibly burst through its banks in Chamoli district, triggering an avalanche and a deluge.

A mother's frantic phone calls to her son, pleading with him to move away from the barrage, helped save the lives of as many as 25 people in the Uttarakhand glacier burst.

Vipul Kaireni, a 27-year-old heavy motor vehicle driver, was on duty working on the NTPC hydropower project in Tapovan on the fateful day of the Uttarakhand tragedy.

As per a report by Times Now, around 9 am on Sunday, Kaireni left his village to work at the project site. He said that he went to work on Sunday as they earned double the regular amount, almost Rs 600.

Kaireni's work was continuously intercepted by his mother's phone calls who was calling him to warn about the oncoming danger. Kaireni's mother Mangshri Devi kept calling him, asking him to move away from the barrage. Devi continuously called her son after she saw the Dhauliganga river raging towards him.

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Kaireni said, "Our village is situated at a height. My mother was working outside when the flash flood descended. Had it not been for her warning, I and around two dozen of my colleagues would be dead by now."

Kaireni said at first he did not take the calls of his mother seriously and mockingly asked his mother to quit as he did not expect the mountains to burst. The mother however was determined and kept the calls going.

After being alerted, the man and his co-workers took shelter on a dilapidated staircase, The Times of India reported.

Also read: Nearly One-third of Uttarakhand Tehsils in Danger of Glacial Floods: Report

Kaireni said, "My mother and wife Anita had seen the water rise 15 m over its normal height and engulf everything in its wake. We all ran towards the staircase and it saved our lives. "

Sandeep Lal, who was one of the persons saved by Devi's phone calls said that he was inside fixing a fault in an electricity line. He was quoted saying, "I owe my life to Vipul's mother and have learned never to ignore a parent's warning. "

On February 7, a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier possibly burst through its banks in Chamoli district. It triggered an avalanche and a deluge that ripped through the Alaknanda river system in the upper reaches of the ecologically fragile Himalayas. A group of scientists mapped over 5,000 glacial lakes on the Indian side of the Himalayan range, and have claimed there are more than 500 glacier lakes in Uttarakhand at risk of an outburst.

first published:February 14, 2021, 09:05 IST