Flood debris blocks confluence of Arun and Barun rivers

April 21, 2017 11:56 AM Republica

-Over 150 people face displacement
-2.5 km wide landslide dam formed

KATHMANDU / BIRATNAGAR, April 22: As many as 150 people of 54 households in Bhot Khola Rural Municipality of Sankhuwasabha district face displacement after the sediments brought by a flooded Barun River blocked the confluence of Arun and Barun River in the district on Thursday evening. 

The flood debris has formed an about two-and-a-half kilometer-wide lake posing huge risk to the life and property of the settlements downstream. 

According to Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Gautam KC, the chief of Sankhuwasabha District Police Office, a team of 45 people led by sub-inspector Pasang Sherpa of Area Police Office (APO), Hedangna, was dispatched Thursday evening to carry out rescue work in the affected area. 

“Flooding in the snow-fed Arun River washed down uprooted trees and sediments and blocked the river at the confluence,” he informed, adding that about 75 percent of the Barun River remains blocked. If the dam formed by the flood bursts, settlements at Phaksinda, Diding, Chetabesi, Lumtingtar along with settlements of Bhojpur and Dhankuta districts will be affected.

A meeting of the Natural Disaster Rescue Committee in Kathmandu has instructed the security forces to use helicopters personnel to immediately start relocation work both by land and air. The landslide dam site is about two days' trek from the district headquarters Khandbari.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Ramesh Kumar Bhatta of East Regional Police Office, Biratnagar, said rescuers from Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and Nepal Army have been deployed to mitigate the potential damages. “Works to transfer risky settlements to safety are in full swing. We are also transferring the settlements at Koshi River banks to safety as they also could be affected if lake formed by the debris breaks any moment,” he added.

DIG Bhatta further informed that Nepal Army has been requested to keep watch on upper areas of Barun River through helicopter. “However, bad weather condition has prevented the Army helicopter to take off as of Friday afternoon.”

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