Other States

Artificial lake burst triggers floods in Ladakh

Several bridges, schools and houses were washed away in the Zanskar region of Ladakh on Thursday after an artificial lake formed on the Phutkal river burst triggering flash floods in the area. No casualties were reported as the authorities had already evacuated people to safe places.

The Phutkal flows down from Zanskar towards Leh and the authorities said they were keeping a close watch on the water level.

“The ribbon lake burst on Thursday morning and flooded vast swathes of areas,” said Mohammad Haneefa Jan, Chief Executive Councillor, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Kargil.

Superintendent of Police, Kargil, Shailendra Mishra told The Hindu that the flow has now slowed down and almost 70 per cent of the water in the artificial lake has flowed out.

“In the morning the water was flowing at a great speed. It destroyed 11 bridges, of which 10 are beyond repair,” Mr. Mishra said. “The worst has passed and we are relieved that there was no loss of life or livestock in the floods.”

The 15-km-long ribbon lake had formed on the Phutkal in January this year after a massive landslide stopped the normal course of the river.

“It resulted in accumulation of more than 30 million cubic metres of water in the ribbon lake and raised apprehensions of a sudden breach leading to flash floods,” former Deputy Commissioner, Kargil, G. Prasanna Ramaswamy, had earlier told The Hindu .

The present Deputy Commissioner and the SSP Kargil conducted an aerial survey of the area where the artificial lake had breached on Thursday.

The National Crisis Management Committee had visited the region in February and declared the situation a “national crisis” and sought to prepare an action plan to avert the crisis.

The Army, on the instructions of the National Disaster Management Authority, which also visited the area, had created a small channel for the water to flow out of the artificial lake. The 75-metre-long channel, which was two-metre deep and two-metre wide, was created using 175 kg of explosives on the landfill.

Officials said the channel breached on Thursday and caused heavy volume of water to flow out. Sub Divisional Magistrate, Zanskar, Rajesh Kumar Basotra, said: “About 40 to 50 families living on the banks of the (Phutkal) river were evacuated to safe places early in the morning by special teams of the Army, police and the locals, and a close watch is being kept on the water flowing from the lake,” Mr. Basotra said.

The ribbon lake formed on the Phutkal after a massive landslip stopped the normal course of the river

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2020 3:03:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/artificial-lake-burst-triggers-floods-in-ladakh/article7182786.ece

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