Flood sweeps away 25 houses

  • Villagers living downstream Bhotekoshi river move to safer locations after timely alert
- PRAGATI SHAHI, ANISH TIWARI, Kathmandu ,SINDHUPALCHOK

Jul 7, 2016-

At least 25 houses were swept away on Wednesday by a flash flood in Bhotekoshi River in Sindhupalchok district after incessant rains since Tuesday night. Road sections and hydropower projects have suffered severe damage. 

Bhotekoshi, a transboundary river originating from the Himalayas in the Tibet in China, saw a sudden rise in water levels--above four metres--at Barhabise at 9pm on Tuesday compared to 1.85 meters at around 5pm. 

The Flood Forecasting Section under the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) had issued a high alert for the Bhotekoshi and Sunkoshi rivers up to Dolalghat, along the Araniko Highway, at 10pm and asked the downstream villagers to move to safer locations. 

“Locals had managed to move away from the vulnerable areas to safer locations after the timely alert. No human casualties were reported,” said Rishi Ram Sharma, director general at the DHM. Glacial lake outbursts flooding events were reported in the Bhotekoshi and Sunkoshi rivers. 

According to Sharma, the sudden rise in water levels in the Bhotekoshi river could be due to cloudbursts in mountain areas on the Tibet side, bringing high intensity rains within a short period of time. “It is very likely that the flash flood in Bhotekoshi could have resulted from bursting of temporary dam formed due to landslide triggered by rains,” he said.  

DHM is analysing the satellite data to find out the actual cause of sudden rise in 

water levels in Bhotekoshi, which put the entire Lipi Bazaar, Chaku, Jambu , Barhabise and Khadichaur areas at high risk. The water levels in Bhotekoshi at Barhabise were still rising until Wednesday evening. 

The dam site and powerhouse located in Tatopani of the Upper Bhotekoshi Hydropower Project and the road section joining Barhabise and Tatopani have been damaged by the flash flood. The camp-site where the hydropower project staff were living has also been washed away by the floods while 14 Chinese staffers have been injured. 

Similarly, the tunnel of Middle Bhotekoshi Hydropower Project has also incurred damage, according to police in Tatopani. The flooding also caused damage to Mansarovar Boarding School and various road sections, including the one joining Barhabise and Khadichaur. 

“The rising water levels in Sunkoshi River have damaged the dam site area and wreaked havoc in Jure where a massive landslide in 2014 had created a dammed lake, killing at least 156 people,” said Sindhupalchok Chief District Officer Gokarna Mani Duwadi. The district administration has mobilised police and Army personnel to help the locals, he said.

Published: 07-07-2016 08:56

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