Thousands of people were evacuated in western Nepal after a massive landslide blocked the Kaligandaki river in Myagdi district early on Sunday.
Two dozen houses were submerged when the level of the river rose after an artificial dam was created by the landslide , which occurred at 2 am. No casualties were reported.
The landslide, which also blocked the Beni-Mustang highway, occurred at Baisari, nearly 10 km above the district headquarters of Beni.
The flow of the river was blocked, creating a lake measuring about one kilometer in length and nearly 100 metres in depth. Authorities issued an alert for seven downstream districts.
If the dam bursts, it could wash away settlements and cause widespread damage.
Watch:Thousands flee after landslide blocks Nepal river
“A landslide-based dam has been formed at Kaligandaki River approximately 10 km upstream of Beni Bazaar. Residents living downstream in Galeshwar Bazaar and Beni Bazaar need to be in very high alert,” said Nepal’s department of hydrology and meteorology.
Residents in parts of Syangja, Parbat, Myagdi, Gulmi, Palpa, Nawalparasi and Baglung districts, located in downstream areas, were asked to stay alert.
Thousands of people living downstream shifted to higher ground or were evacuated by authorities to safer places.
Continuous landslides at the site foiled efforts by engineering teams of the Nepal Army to remove the blockade till late on Sunday afternoon.
Hundreds of landslides have occurred across Nepal after last month’s earthquake and subsequent aftershocks, blocking roads and posing a threat to many villages and small towns.
With aftershocks continuing and the monsoon set to arrive in a few weeks, experts feel the situation could worsen further.