34,200 in Tibet evacuated as landslide-barricaded lake on Jinsha River set to burst

View of the site of the landslide which created a barrier lake. (Photo courtesy: Daily Mail)
View of the site of the landslide which created a barrier lake. (Photo courtesy: Daily Mail)

(TibetanReview.net, Nov11, 2018) – A total of 34,200 people have been evacuated along the Jinsha River (Tibetan: Drichu river), part of the headwater systems of the Yangze River, in Chamdo City of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and Garze (Karze, or Kanze) Prefecture of Sichuan Province as a barrier lake formed by landslide was set to burst on Nov 12 early morning, reported China’s official chinadaily.com.cn Nov 11.

The report cited local authorities as having declared the second-highest emergency response to alert people of the rapidly rising water levels on the river’s lower reaches, which could follow the discharge starting at about 4 am on Nov 12.

The Drichu river forms a natural border between Chamdo City in TAR and Karze Prefecture in what is now part of Sichuan Province and the barrier lake has formed on the Chamdo side’s Bolo Township.

The report said the areas vulnerable to the discharge, including Garze Prefecture and Chamdo City, would evacuate all people and vehicles. Of the 34,200 people already evacuated, more than 25,000 were from the Chamdo side, reported China’s online Tibet news service eng.tibet.cn Nov 11. Entering these areas was forbidden until the end of the emergency response, a media release from China’s Ministry of Emergency Management was cited as saying late Nov 11 evening.

The report cited the municipal government of Changdu (Chamdo) City as saying the water level had risen 57.44 metres with an estimated 469 million cubic metres of water storage as of 9 am on Nov11.

The chinadaily.com.cn report noted that a landslide had previously led to the formation of a barrier lake on the river on Oct 11. However, water levels returned to normal on Oct 14 following a discharge with no casualties reported. However, on Nov 3, a second landslide blocked the river again, leading to the current emergency situation.


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