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Bhotekosi flood


July 7, 2016: A flash flood on the Bhotekosi River that flows down from Tibet to Nepal has swept away at least 21 houses in Tatopani village of Sindhupalchok district on the Nepal-China border.

Tuesday night’s flood also damaged dozens of houses on the banks of the trans-Himalayan river in Tatopani and nearby villages like Liping and Das Kilo. The 45 MW Bhotekosi Hydropower and the under construction 102MW Mid-Bhotekosi Hydropower were also damaged in the flood.

Four vehicles, including two cargo containers parked at Tatopani, were also washed away.  The flood has also damaged the building where an integrated office of immigration, customs and security was set up near the Nepal-China friendship bridge after last year’s earthquakes.

Police had alerted the locals to run to safety as water levels in the river started rising alarmingly. Sindhupalchok CDO Gokarna Mani Dawadi called the Chinese authorities to find out the cause of the flood and was told that a massive landslide caused by heavy rainfall on the Tibetan side had blocked the river about five kilometers upstream from Tatopani. The dammed river finally burst through on Tuesday night.

The flood has also damaged the 30 km Tatopani-Lamosangu section of the Kodari Highway, which was blocked by the massive Jure landslide in 2014 and in several other places by rockfalls triggered by last year’s earthquake. Tatopani was slowly limping back to normal after the road was cleared a few months ago, but the flood has once again turned it into a ghost town.

The locals say the last time they witnessed such a devastating flood was in 1980, when nearly 40 houses were washed away in Purano Barabise when a glacial lake in Tibet burst.

By Dhruba Dhangal