By Tenzin Dharpo
Screen grab of a section of a Tibetan Monastery submerged into the river in Bolo township near Chamdo city in TAR.
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 12: The landslide hit area near Chamdo city in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) has been evacuated in the fear of the second barrier lake formed on the Drichu river giving way to floods in the downstream regions.
Chinese emergency workers have reportedly moved 25,000 people to safer grounds to evade the dangers of flood that destroyed many structures and houses on the banks and nearby areas of the river, in the last few weeks. Chinese government mouth-piece Global Times
on Sunday reported that temporary settlements equipped with basic living necessities have been set up for relocated villagers.
The water level of the barrier lake rose to dangerous proportions with the depth of the lake reaching 55 meters with an estimated 469 million cubic meters of as of Sunday morning.
Two landslides on the banks of the Drichu river struck in Bolo township near Chamdo city in occupied Tibet’s Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) on October 11 and November 3, both damming the river and causing the formation of barrier lakes. While the earlier lake was discharged, the second lake seems on the verge of overflowing, according to sources.
Authorities quoted by the Chinese mouthpiece said the two landslides have left about 100 houses collapsed, more than 1,000 houses damaged. Overall, the calamity has affected over 30,000 residents in 15 counties in TAR and Sichuan province within 300 kilometres (186 miles) downstream from the point of the blockage.
Areas in Bolo township flooded with water from the Drichu river that is blocked due to landslides
London based rights group Free Tibet has alleged Chinese mining, development and dam construction projects in the area have been rampant in the region adding, the devastation, "are directly linked to the increased occurrences of flooding, particularly in the regions of Kardze and Ngaba”.
“The Drichu River has been an essential component in a series of Chinese large-scale hydro-dam development projects at the Tibetan Plateau’s southeast corner. Aimed at meeting the increasing electricity demands of distant Chinese cities, the hydro-dam constructions are not there to benefit the local Tibetan population,” the group said in a report published October 15.
Video clips circulating on the micro-messaging platforms show many houses belonging to native Tibetans, including monasteries and traditional structures fall into the rising water.