Current Affairs 8th February

7 killed after ‘glacial burst’ in Uttarakhand #GS3 #DM

Seven persons were killed and over 125 reported missing after a “glacial burst” on Nanda Devi triggered an avalanche and caused flash floods in Rishiganga and Dhauliganga rivers in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.

Videos of gushing waters and rising dust went viral on social media as flood warnings were issued in downstream Uttar Pradesh for what was described as a “glacial burst” by the Centre’s National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC.

Cause under study

Mr. Rawat, on his part, was more circumspect about the cause of the flooding in the eco-sensitive Himalayan region, where environmentalists have warned against the construction of dams for decades

While the Rishiganga hydel project had an installed capacity of 13.2 megawatts (MW), the 520 MW NTPC Tapovan-Vishnugad project on the Dhauliganga was much larger. Both sites have been virtually washed away.

Benefit of the NewsGlacial Burst in Uttarakhand

Glacier collapse brings back memory of 2013 flash floods #GS3 #Environment #DM

Originating from Vasudhara Tal, perhaps the largest glacial lake in Uttarakhand, the Dhauliganga flows in a meandering course, which takes it through the Nanda Devi National Park.

Known for its spectacularly beautiful route and whitewater rafting, the river turned into a deathly torrent on Sunday after a part of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off and collapsed into it.

The Dhauliganga, which merges with the Alaknanda, is one of the several tributaries of the Ganga, as the river flows down from the Himalayas and snakes its way through the plains. The tributaries intersect, flow into one another or meander away passing through several towns in five States.

In Uttarakhand, the Ganga and its tributaries pass through important tourist places such as Rishikesh, Haridwar, Rudraprayag and Karnaprayag. Sunday’s collapse of the glacier led to rippling flash floods in the Dhauliganga and the Rishiganga and also impacted the Alaknanda.

This also brought the spotlight on the 2013 flash floods in the hill States that wiped out settlements and killed over 5,000 people.

Dhauliganga is joined by Rishiganga river at Raini, where the disaster at the power project dam took place.

The river takes a V-turn and continues to flow in the opposite direction, toward north, as the Dhauliganga for another 30-odd km, through Tapovan, until it is joined by the Alaknanda at Vishnuprayag near Joshimath.

There it loses its identity and the Alaknanda flows southwest — through Chamoli, Maithana, Nandaprayag, Karnaprayag until it meets the Mandakini river, coming from the north at Rudraprayag. After subsuming Mandakini, the Alaknanda carries on past Srinagar, before joining the Ganga at Devprayag near Kedarnath.

Alaknanda then disappears and the mighty Ganga carries on its journey, first flowing south then west through important pilgrimage centres such as Rishikesh and finally descending into the Indo-Gangetic plains at Haridwar.

Still on a southern course, the Ganga goes past Bijnor when it loops back on an easterly course toward Kanpur.

Benefit of the NewsAbout all Prayag and rivers associated with it; Nanda Devi glacier.

Experts point to climate change impact #GS3 #Environment #DM

A deluge that resulted from a glacial melt on Nanda Devi flooded the Rishiganga river in Uttarakhand and washed away at least two hydroelectric power projects — the13.2 MW Rishiganga hydroelectric power project and the Tapovan project on the Dhauliganga river, a tributary of the Alakananda.

There were also concerns that the excess water would further travel downstream to the river Alaknanda and threaten villages as well as hydro projects on the river.

Environmental experts have attributed the Nanda Devi glacial melt to global warming. Glacier retreat and permafrost thaw are projected to decrease the stability of mountain slopes and increase the number and area of glacier lakes, according to the latest assessment reports of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

There is also high confidence that the number and area of glacier lakes will continue to increase in most regions in the coming decades, and new lakes will develop closer to steep and potentially unstable mountain walls where lake outbursts can be more easily triggered.

Satellite and Google Earth images do not show a glacial lake near the region, but there’s a possibility that there may be a water pocket in the region. Water pockets are lakes inside the glaciers, which may have erupted leading to this event. 

Climate change has driven erratic weather patterns like increased snowfall and rainfall, warmer winters has led to the melting of a lot of snow. The thermal profile of ice, say experts, was increasing. Earlier the temperature of ice ranged from -6 to -20 degree Celsius, it is now -2 making it more susceptible to melting.

Benefit of the News– Climate change impact along with thermal profile of ice.

Afghanistan gets Covishield doses #GS2 #IR

Afghanistan received a large consignment of COVID-19 vaccines from India. A special Indian aircraft carrying 500,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine from Mumbai reached Kabul. The India-made vaccine is the first to reach Afghanistan as the country battles the pandemic.

The vaccine, made by the Serum Institute of India, has already been supplied to Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and the Maldives in South Asia. India has already carried out capacity building workshops with Afghan health workers. 

Benefit of the NewsIndia- Afghan relations

Ukraine looking at defence purchases from India #GS2 #IR

Ukraine is looking to procure some military hardware from India in addition to efforts to deepen its presence in the Indian defence market. The two sides will discuss a range of proposals to take forward bilateral cooperation at the Bilateral Working Group meeting between the two defence Ministries in April. 

Ukraine has signed four agreements worth $70 million which includes sale of new weapons as well as maintenance and upgrades of existing ones in service with the Indian armed forces

Benefit of the NewsIndia- Ukraine relations

Men access mental health helpline more #GS2 #SocialIssues

Seventy per cent of callers to a mental health rehabilitation helpline launched, in September 2020 by the Social Justice and Empowerment (SJE) Ministry, were men. About 32% of those who reached out were students.

The Kiran helpline (1800-599-0019) of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) of the Ministry was launched. From September 16, 2020 to January 15, the helpline received 13,550 new calls, of which 70.5% were from males and 29.5% from females.

The majority of callers (75.5%) were in the age group of 15 to 40 years, while 18.1% were older, in the 41 to 60 age group, it said.

Categorising the callers, the report said, 65.9% had “milder nature of distress”, while 26.5% were “moderately distressed” and 7.6% were “severely distressed”. The report said 32.3% of the callers were students, 15.2% were self-employed, 27.1% were employed, 23.3% were unemployed, 1.4% were home-makers and 0.7% did not reveal the information.

While most of the callers (78.2%) sought help for themselves, others reached out for their parents, siblings, spouse and others.

Majorly the challenges faced by the callers were related to anxiety (28.5%) and depression (25.5%); while few others included pandemic-related challenges (7.8%), suicidal tendency (2.8%), substance abuse (3.4%) and others miscellaneous (32%).

Most of the calls were from the North zone (40.32%), followed by West (27.08%), South (16.99%), East (11.28%) and North East (4.33%), the report said.

Students were facing anxiety and depression due to the uncertainty about their future and lack of interaction with peers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Another psychologist working at regional centre of the DEPwD fielding calls from Haryana, said students were the largest group of callers. The psychologist added that women from rural areas had reached out to the helpline with complaints of anxiety and disturbances within families.

The 24/7 helpline offers early screening, psychological first-aid, psychological support, distress management, mental well-being, psychological crisis management services and referrals to mental health experts and is operated by 81 front-line professionals, apart from volunteer psychiatrists, clinical and rehabilitation psychologists, 

Benefit of the NewsUnderstanding Mental health issues

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