Arunachal Pradesh and Assam on flood alert after formation of artificial lake in Tibet

Updated on Oct 20, 2018 09:24 AM IST

NDRF teams are being airlifted from Bhubaneshwar, Odisha to Pasighat on Saturday and will be positioned at Tuting, Pangin and Pasighat to take part in rescue and relief operations if needed.

In this image taken from video footage run on Thursday, Oct 18, 2018, by China's CCTV via AP Video, a view of the landslide and barrier lake is seen on Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet in western China.(AP Photo)
In this image taken from video footage run on Thursday, Oct 18, 2018, by China's CCTV via AP Video, a view of the landslide and barrier lake is seen on Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet in western China.(AP Photo)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Several districts of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam have been put on flood alert following reports that water of the Yarlung Tsangpo river in China which had been blocked due to landslides, has over flown the block point on Friday afternoon.

An artificial lake had formed on the Yarlung Tsangpo on Wednesday after a cliff fell at Milin section of the river, 70 km from Nuxia Hydrological Station in Tibet, around 100 km from the Indian border.

Due to the formation of the lake, water level of the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh has gone down and has 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. The same river is known as Brahmaputra after it reaches Assam.

On Friday, the Indian embassy in Beijing informed authorities in Arunachal Pradesh through video conferencing that the blocked water had over flown the blockade around 2:00 pm and was flowing downstream to Siang.

“It was flowing at 18,000 cubic metre/second. As a result, the water level of river Siang in Arunachal Pradesh is likely to rise suddenly tonight (Friday night)/tomorrow (Saturday),” said a ‘most urgent’ notice issued by the disaster management department of Arunachal Pradesh.

The embassy, however, clarified that it was only a case of overflow over the debris of the block point and there was no break of the blockade.

According to Central Water Commission (CWC) in case of a breach at the blockade, the water will rush downstream at the speed of 80,000 cubic metre/second and may cause major damages.

Four districts in Arunachal Pradesh--East Siang, West Siang, Siang, Upper Siang—have been asked to take precautionary measures like alerting people through wide publicity, take evacuation measures in low lying areas, restrain people from venturing to the Siang and undertake constant monitoring.

“The water is likely to reach Tuting (Arunachal Pradesh) in 10-14 hrs (around 12 am-4 am IST) and another 8-10 hours (8 am-10 am) Pasighat (Arunachal Pradesh) from the time of overflow over the blockade,” it added.

Eight companies of NDRF forces are being airlifted from Bhubaneshwar, Odisha to Pasighat on Saturday and will be positioned at Tuting, Pangin and Pasighat to take part in rescue and relief operations if needed.

Several districts in upper Assam are also on alert to prevent any eventuality if water level on the Brahmaputra rises suddenly.

In 2000, 30 people were killed and nearly 100 went missing in Arunachal Pradesh due to flash floods following breach of a dam on the Yarlung Tsangpo.

On Friday, authorities tried to assuage fears of a repeat of the 2000 incident. Union cabinet secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha told Arunachal Pradesh Chief Secretary Satya Gopal that Chinese government is sharing information with India in advance for managing a possible disaster.

  

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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