Arunachal Pradesh and Assam on high alert as artificial lake in China breaches

The government of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam have announced high alerts in the states keeping in mind the possibilities of flash floods. The decision was taken after China informed India on Friday that a landslide has blocked a section of a Yarlung Tsangpo river in the Tibet region, that flows into Arunachal Pradesh as Siang and further downstream in Assam as the Brahmaputra.

The East Siang district administration in Arunachal Pradesh has asked people not to venture near the Siang River and asked them to stay alert. The water level in the Siang has reduced due to the landslide blocking the flow of water. The landslide has led to the formation of an artificial lake and there are fears of large-scale floods downstream if the lake breaches. The Central Water Commission has alerted the Union government on this.

The Assam government has issued an alert in Upper Assam – the districts of Dibrugarh, Dhemaji, Lakhimpur and Tinsukia have been asked to be prepared since the Siang flows into the Brahmaputra in this region.

The centre has deployed additional National Disaster Response Force from Kolkata and Bhubaneswar to this region.

According to Arunchal Pradesh government, Beijing has informed New Delhi that the artificial lake at Yarlung Tsangpo had begun spilling over at around 2 PM resulting in an unprecedented rise in water levels. This huge volume of water is expected to enter India through the Sino-Indian border at Tuting by Saturday afternoon and is expected cause flash floods in the Siang River by Saturday evening.

The Central Water Commission told the Assam government that China had shared data on the breach with India, saying that the lake water storage is increasing at a rate of 8 million cubic meter per hour or 80,000 cubic meters per second.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar has said that India and China are in regular contact on this matter.

“On October 17, the Chinese side informed us about a landslide blocking the main stream of Yarlung Zangbo/Brahmaputra River in the Tibet Autonomous Region…Based on the information provided, all relevant authorities of the central government and concerned state governments have been apprised about the emerging situation to enable them to take necessary precautionary measures. We are in regular contact with the Chinese side for further updates,” he said.


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