Sindhupalchowk, Kavre, Ramechhap on high alert over possible glacial lake burst

Kavre, July 21

Authorities in Sindhupalchowk, Kavre and Ramechhap have asked people residing on the banks of the Bhotekoshi and Sunkoshi rivers to remain on high alert due to the threat of a lake burst at the source of the Bhotekoshi River in Tibet.

Citing that incessant rainfall and the increased water level in the Kerung Chhyo glacial lake in the Nyalam region of Tibet, the Chinese side had conveyed their fear of a possible threat of lake burst to the authorities in Sindhupalchowk last evening.

After receiving information from the Chinese side, the authority in Sindhupalchowk issued a notice yesterday itself asking people residing near the river to remain on high alert. The authorities in the district renewed the call today as well.

A lake burst at the source of the Bhotekoshi River could spell huge damage to life and property in settlements downstream in places such as Bhotekoshi Rural Municipality, Bahrabise Municipality, Sunkoshi Rural Municipality, Balefi Rural Municipality and Chautara Sangachowkgadi Municipality in the district, according to the authority.

The lake lies 45-km away from the Tatopani entry point.

“We’re asking people living on the river fronts to stay on high alert to move to safer places in the event of a burst,” said Chief District Officer Umesh Kumar Dhakal. He, however, asked people not to panic unnecessarily.

“Even if the lake bursts, we’ll get information before the floods reach us, so we just want people to be on high alert, without panicking,” he added.

Similarly, the authority in Kavre has also asked residents of a few places near the river to stay on high alert, citing the possibility of a lake burst at the source of the Bhotekoshi river in Tibet.

According to Chief District Officer Shrawan Kumar Timalsina, people on the banks of the Sunkoshi River in Bhumlu Rural Municipality, Panchkhal Municipality and Pokharichauri Rural Municipality have been told to remain on high alert.

“As a lake burst in Tibet will also kick up water level in the Sunkoshi River too, the police posts at Bhumlu, Panchkhal, Pokharichauri have been told to alert people about a possible threat,” said Timalsina.

Likewise, the authority in Ramechhap have also issued a stay-alert notice to people residing on the Sunkoshi riverfront in view of the threat.

Earlier, six people had died in Sindhupalchowk’s Bahrabise Municipality and Bhotekoshi Rural Municipality when floods and landslides swept away over three dozen houses over a week ago. Twenty-one persons had gone missing after the incidents while hundreds left their homes given the risk.

Days after the incidents of floods and landslides, vehicular movement on the Araniko Highway is yet to resume after the flooded river breached the road at a number of places from Bahrabise to Tatopani.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 22, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.