Landslide debris blocks river in Bajhang, triggers flood threatsContinuous landslide at Githine cliff in Bungal Municipality has hindered work to safely channelise the blocked river.
Landslide debris carried by the Sanigad river in Bungal Municipality, Bajhang has formed a dam midstream in the Githine area since Friday morning, putting nearby settlements at risk.
With the surge in water level, the river started breaching the debris dam in the afternoon, threatening to sweep away Mahadev Secondary School nearby.
The landslide occurred at around 9am from Githine cliff, according to Rakesh Singh, a local man of Kafalseri.
“The landslide debris has blocked the river,” said Singh. “The dam may burst anytime. Settlements nearby and downstream are at risk of getting flooded.”
The District Police Office in Bajhang has requested people living near the riverbank areas to stay alert.
“If the dam bursts, Kafalseri Bazar and the settlements near the Sanigad and Kalanga river bank areas could be flooded. Besides Githine cliff, a landslide has also broken out at the Sanigad Hydropower dam site,” said Singh.
The landslide dammed river has already inundated around 50 ropanies of paddy fields, a house and a shed.
“At least five cattle died because of inundation. Our paddy fields have been destroyed by the floodwaters,” said Yogesh Singh, a local resident.
On Friday evening, a team of Nepali Army reached the incident site to safely channelise the blocked river.
But their work has been hindered due to a continuous landslide in the area.
“The team are at the incident site with an excavator. However, the landslide has not stopped yet. There’s a chance that the flow of the river could get blocked again at night,” Rupak Khadka, deputy superintendent of police in Bajhang, said. “If this happens, we have to shift people from the risky areas tonight. We have mobilised police personnel in various places to alert people.”
Meanwhile, continuous rainfall since the last few days has increased the water level of Bahuligad stream near Chainpur, Bajhang district headquarters.
On Friday, the rain-swollen stream breached its banks in Jaya Prithvi Municipality and swept away a suspension bridge.
“Vehicular movement along Rithapata-Surma road has come to a halt after the stream damaged the road. We have urged the local residents to stay alert,” said. Nawaraj Koirala, a local government officer.