By Tenzin Dharpo
Nov. 6: Weeks after a devastating landslide hit the banks of the Drichu river (ch. Yangtse), another landslide hit the same volatile spot in Bolo township near Chamdo city in occupied Tibet’s Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) on Saturday evening.
reported that the landslide which caused the formation of a barrier lake blocked a section of the river, located in the border area between Sichuan Province and TAR flooding villages and a hydro power station. Nearly 6,000 people including locals and power station staff were evacuated as of 7 am the next day on Nov 4.
Authorities quoted by the Chinese mouthpiece said the two landslides have left about 100 houses collapsed, more than 1,000 houses damaged and over 8,300 residents relocated. Overall, the calamity has affected 24,600 residents in 15 counties in TAR and Sichuan province within 300 kilometres (186 miles) downstream from the point of the blockage.
While the Chinese government has made no mention of man-made causes for the 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, “according to the local population, 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.