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Sudden flood on Seti River takes a heavy toll

  •13 bodies found‚ more than 50 missing • Kharapani Bazaar swept away • Rescue operation on

BHARAT KOIRALA/ RISHI BARAL

POKHARA: A flash flood in the Seti River today wreaked havoc in many places of Kaski district. By evening 13 bodies has been recovered and more than 50 had gone missing.

Among the disappeared are three Ukranian tourists — Dubinskiy Oleksandr, Polonchuk Alla and Ivan Malaknov. Only the bodies of Archana Shrestha of Bagale Tole and Gopal Tamrakar a shopkeeper at Kharapani in Sardikhola VDC have been identified so far .

A Bachelor level student, Archana had gone for picnic to Kharapani with 15 friends of La Grandee College, Pokhara, on Saturday morning. While 14 escaped, two were swept away by the river. Though Archana’s body was found, Chet Bahadur is still missing. Among the persons who died in the flooding are eight males and one female. Police also found four legs and two arms.

Five persons were injured. Mohan Tamrakar, his daughter Mala, Tara Gurung and Pratikshya Gurung are undergoing treatment at Manipal hospital, while Santosh Gurung is receiving treatment at the Western Regional hospital.

For the last three days, the Annapurna and Machhapuchhre region had been receiving continuous rain and was piled with heavy snow. The lightning and thunder that accompanied the rain had unsettled the snow and caused a slide blocking the Seti River near its origin. On Saturday morning, the river burst through the blockage creating sudden rush of water

downstream.

More than two dozen houses were damaged. Kharapani of Sardikhola VDC and Sadal of Machhapuchhre VDC have borne the brunt of the flooding. Kharapani Bazaar has been completely swept away.

The flood also swept away 12 labourers near Kharapani, 12 persons bathing in the hot water spring, 15 locals, three foreigners, two students and many cattle. Workers extracting boulders from the river have gone missing. The flood also swept away a tractor and a mini truck. More than a dozen suspension bridges have been damaged.

Nepali Army, Nepal police and Armed Police Force personnel have been deployed in affected areas. Joint search and rescue operations are under way at Kharapani, Sardikhola, Yamdi and Ramghat. The sudden surge in the water level has got the locals terrorised at many places like in Mahendrapul, Narayansthan, KI Singh Pul and other places. Kaski CDO Chet Nath Bhattarai said. “We have managed excavators and dozers for rescue in the affected places.” A Red Cross team provided relief today.


Not GLOF, landslide responsible’

KATHMANDU: Experts said the flash flood in the Seti River could be landslide induced rather than the result of avalanche or Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF). “The debris in the river did not comprise boulders and moraine — associated with glaciers — so the cause was landslide as the water was very muddy,” said Pradeep Mool, glacier expert at International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). Meteorological Forecasting Division said, it’s still unclear what induced the landslide. “It wasn’t an intense rainfall induced flood,” said Mandira Shrestha, water resource expert at ICIMOD. Initially, it was thought an ice avalanche had caused the flood, but later Nepali Army said the flood was due to landslide.


Relief on the way: PM

KATHMANDU: PM Baburam Bhattarai said on Saturday he was saddened by the loss of lives and property due to ‘flash flood’ in Kaski. In a press statement, he condoled the death of people and extended heartfelt sympathy to the grieving kin of the deceased and missing. “I have instructed the local administration, Nepali Army and police to expedite search and rescue operations in the affected areas. Search and rescue operation backed by army helicopters is under way,” the statement read. The Home Ministry has has kept CDOs of Kaski, Tanahun, Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts on high alert and formed a panel under Kaski CDO Chetnath Bhattarai to assess loss of lives and property, and distribute relief to affected people.


Eyewitnesses recount


We were extracting boulders when I heard a loud rumble. I saw floodwater approaching. My friends had already left. Somebody shouted ‘Sainla, run’! Water had come up to my knees. A friend threw a rope and pulled me out. There were 12 of us. We saw the river sweeping away 15 locals who were bathing, three foreigners, two students, some cattle and houses.

— Ganesh Ranamagar

•••

Every Saturday, Kharapani Bazaar gets crowded with picnickers. The flood occurred in the morning when there weren’t many merrymakers. Had the flood occurred during daytime, hundreds could have died.

— Suk Bahadur Tamang

•••

Sixteen students from Pokhara-based Technical College had turned up before the flood. The floodwater swept away Archana Shrestha and Chet Bahadur Thapa, while 14 fled to safety. We were collecting firewood when the flood came. We ran. Nine ran to Machhapuchre VDC and five fled to Sardikhola. Somebody shouted ‘bhag’ (run), we heard ‘bagh’ ((tiger). We ran to the stream to see the tiger and two of us were swept away.

— Kesav Parajuli,

student at La Grandi

International College

•••

My parents-in-law lived in a house on the Seti banks. Both father-in-law Bal Bahadur Gurung and mother-in-law Buddhishree Gurung were swept away.

— Gyanlaxmi Gurung,

Sardikhola VDC-8

Comments1

I am very sad form the incident that occurred. I express my deep sympathy to those who lost their life. I will feel my self very lucky if i got a chance to help those family who lost their relatives. Ravi , Lekhnath

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