Flash flood alert in Arunachal Pradesh after landslide forms lake in China

The East Siang district authorities have issued a flash flood alert and cautioned people not to venture into Siang and peripheral areas to collect driftwood after an artificial lake was formed on the Yarlung Tsangpo river in China following a landslide

Authorities in Arunachal Pradesh’s East Siang district have issued an alert asking people not to go near Siang and to remain alert following the formation of an artificial lake on the Yarlung Tsangpo in China on Wednesday after a cliff fell on a section of the river.

The water level of the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh has gone down due to the formation of the lake and also led to fears of large-scale floods if the dam formed by the landslide breaks.

The Yarlung Tsangpo is called Siang once it enters Arunachal Pradesh from Tibet and the same river is known as the Brahmaputra after it reaches Assam.

“We got a report from the Central Water Commission (CWC) about the landslide in Tibet. The water level in Siang river has gone down by around 2 metres at Tuting in Arunachal Pradesh,” Duly Kamduk, deputy commissioner of Upper Siang district, said.

The East Siang district authorities have cautioned people not to venture into Siang and peripheral areas to collect driftwood, fishing or swimming apprehending a sudden flash flood in the downstream areas in case the dam bursts and releases the vast quantity of accumulated water.

“And also people living in low lying areas (both the right and left bank of Siang River) viz Jarku, Paglek, SS Mission, Jarkong, Banskota, Berung, Jampani, Sigar, Ralling, Borguli, Seram, Kongkul, Namsing, Mer, Gadum, etc to remain alert but without panic for any eventuality that may happen due to above reasons,” it said in a statement.

“Further, it is directed that driftwood such logs, trees, bamboos clamps, and any uprooted vegetative materials brought by the river from upstream and parked along the banks both the banks of the Siang River shall not be lifted … so as to serve as a Natural Flood Control Mechanism,” it added.

It also said anyone violating the orders will be punished under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code and the relevant provision of the law.

According to an Associated Press report from Beijing, around 6,000 people have been evacuated in Tibet around the area where the lake has formed. China is said to have informed India of the development.

The landslide is stated to have struck near a village in Menling County and the water in the artificial lake has risen to 131 feet by Thursday, according to Chinese authorities, the AP report said.

Worried at the development, the lawmaker from Arunachal Pradesh Ninong Ering said that due to the landslide and formation of the lake “the situation of rivers along Tuting, Yingkiong and Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh is grim. These places are drying up rapidly due to the blockade.”

“The Siang has almost dried up, which is very unnatural. And if the dam breaks, there could be large-scale damage in Arunachal Pradesh and other states downstream,” the Lok Sabha member wrote to Swaraj on Thursday.

“According to Chinese ministry of water resources, the landslide took place around 80 km downstream from the Nuxia hydrological station in Linzhi in Tibet. That’s around 100 km from the Indian border,” Ering said.

Earlier this year, waters in the Siang and Brahmaputra had turned turbid massive landslides caused by a series of earthquakes in Tibet.



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