Rockfall dams Tamor RiverA landslide dammed the Tamor river at Sawadin VDC in Taplejung district on Sunday morning, leaving downstream settlements at risk of flooding should the artificial lake burst.
A landslide dammed the Tamor river at Sawadin VDC in Taplejung district on Sunday morning, leaving downstream settlements at risk of flooding should the artificial lake burst.
After a massive rockfall from the Nakla cliff, boulders blocked the river, a major
tributary to the Saptakoshi river, at around 2am. Though water started overflowing from the debris, riverside settlers fear a flood.
The obstruction has formed a lake about 500 metres long and 200 metres wide. After inspecting the site, some locals said there was no possibility of an immediate outburst as the dam was made up of huge boulders.
The lake inundated two houses belonging to Bir Bahadur Labund and Jiban Labung near Mitlung in the neighbouring Phurumbu VDC. There were no human casualties as the family members stayed in another house in Mitlung. Some cattle died in the sheds. An increasing water level has inundated hectares of farmland upstream.
Locals say rocks continue to fall into the river. Pawan Shrestha, a local resident, said that 13 households in Mitlung Bazaar would be displaced if landslides continue.
Mitlung Bazaar is about 50 metres above the river. Women and children who had been sent higher to safety returned to the settlement after water started overflowing from the dam at 9am. Thousands of people living near the riverbanks in Dobhan, Handrung and Thumba of Taplejung and several settlements in Panchthar, Tehrathum and Dhankuta districts will be affected if the lake bursts out.
Members of the Nepal Army, Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force have been mobilised to provide help to the locals and assess the risk.
“Security personnel have been providing updates from the incident site regularly. We have warned the people living close to the river about possible threats,” said Acting Chief District Officer Surendra Bhattarai.