Icy flood that killed at least 41 in India’s northeast had been feared for years

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Hundreds of rescuers dug through slushy debris and fast-flowing, icy water Friday in a search for survivors after a glacial lake overflowed and burst through a dam in India’s Himalayan north, a disaster that many had warned was possible for years.

The flood began in the early hours of Wednesday, when water overflowed a mountain lake with enough force to break through the concrete of a major hydroelectric dam downstream. It then poured into the valley below, where it killed at least 41 people and forced thousands to flee their homes.

Police said that 22 of the dead were found miles downriver in West Bengal state, while 100 people are still missing.

It wasn’t clear what triggered the flood. Experts pointed to intense rain, and a 6.2 magnitude earthquake that struck nearby Nepal on Tuesday afternoon, as possible contributors.