Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Flash flood in Nepal kills at least 15

Seti River flash flood near Annapurna
This story was on the American Geophysical Union landslide blog

Yesterday the Seti River in Kaski District in Nepal was affected by a catastrophic and very sudden flash flood.... To date 15 people are confirmed to have been killed, but the toll will inevitably rise.  Initial estimates are that there are a further 36 people missing, including three tourists. 

The Sydney Morning Herald had quotes from a witness

"There was nothing unusual. People were enjoying picnics, some were relaxing in the hot spring pools by the river and others working," he told the Kathmandu Post. "Out of nowhere came this swelling dark murky water with debris, sweeping away many people."

There is also video of the flood-wave on the Nepal Times that describes it like so

Amateur videos of Saturday morning’s flashflood roaring down the Seti River showed a wall of dirty brown water carrying floating debris that reminded us of pictures of the Japan tsunami. Shocking as these images were, they pale in comparison to what happened 800 years ago on this same river.

Some of the news coverage says that the fatalities are so high because of all the activities that now happen right in the river bed (i.e. mining of gravel), but other coverage says that many fatalities were because the river jumped its banks by a popular recreation spot for locals and tourists. 

That video is from Pokhara near the Annapurna Range. Only a few months ago we visited near this site: "Fewa Lake and the Black Himalayas" (and part 2). Those posts describe the concerns of a local water manager and include a visit to a dam that broke and was later rebuilt. 

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