Indian flood is nature's payback: experts

Rampant construction, rock blasting, climate change.

Sunday's (February 7) flash flood in Uttarakhand state was nature's payback, Indian environmental experts believe, for dam-building and other practices that have disturbed the fragile make-up of the Himalayas.

Dozens of people were killed when an avalanche tore through this river valley.

And as of Thursday (February 11) some 170 remain unaccounted for, most of them workers at a hydroelectric plant and a smaller dam that was swept away by the torrent.

This is Samrat Sengupta of the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi.

"This has happened due to unjust interference of the mankind with nature. This has happened in two ways: One, climate change that is also man-made climate change, and another is high density of infrastructure development without done (doing) any pure scientific modeling and study. So, nature is giving back."

Kundan Singh is a resident of Raini village, part of which was washed away in the deluge.

In 2019, Singh filed a public interest case arguing the hydropower project posed a risk to locals. He saw this coming.

"The village was under threat. Landslides were occurring. The company was blasting and their laborers were cutting down trees. The company did not provide employment to the villagers, either."

Environmentalists have long warned that climate change is triggering massive flooding in the region.

In June 2013, record monsoon rains in Uttarakhand unleashed devastating floods dubbed the "Himalayan tsunami." Nearly 6,000 people lost their lives.