Arunachal Pradesh put on high alert fearing flash floods as Siang river overflows; 32 NDRF teams deployed

Arunachal Pradesh is on high alert following rising levels of the Siang river caused due to water overflowing from an artificial lake in Tibet formed after a landslide, reports said.

According to IANS, people living along the banks of Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh have been moved to safer places and the government has issued a 48-hour advisory to the local people to exercise caution.

The East Siang district administration had issued the alert cautioning people not to venture into Siang and peripheral areas apprehending a flash flood in the downstream areas in case the dam bursts and releases the vast quantity of accumulated water, Hindustan Times reported.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Arunachal Pradesh Health and Family Welfare Minister Alo Libang, who is also the MLA of Yingkiong constituency in East Siang district, told PTI that the water level of the Siang river had risen at around 11 pm Friday night, but started receding after some time. The minister said the officials were constantly monitoring the water level of the river.

"Last night (Friday) we recorded the water level at 418.65 meters at Tuting. Today (Saturday), it has decreased to 406.50 meters there, which is normal. The Brahmaputra level is normal so far, a senior Central Water Commission (CWC) official told IANS on Saturday in what was the latest update on the water levels of the overflowing river. Dibrugarh houses the Upper Brahmaputra division of the CWC, which monitors the developments that take place in Arunachal Pradesh and further upstream.

According to PTI, Getom Borang, superintending engineer (Hqs), Water Resources Department, had said that the first rush of water had reached Pasihgat, the headquarters of East Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh by 7 am, Saturday. The water flow, however, was under control and below the danger level at 11 am, he told PTI over phone.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner of East Siang district, Duly Kamduk and officials of the Water Resources department are constantly keeping a watch on the flow of the Siang river, while the National Disaster Response Force (NERF) team has arrived, officials said.

In East Siang district, many people living near the banks of the Siang river have been evacuated to safer locations as a precautionary measure, IANS quoted officials as saying.

Thirty-two teams from the NDRF have already been in various districts of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Out of which, 13 teams have been deployed in Arunachal Pradesh, two at Upper Siang and 11 at East Siang district, the NDRF said in a statement on Saturday, according to ANI.

Out of the total, seven teams have been deployed at Dhemaji and one each at Dibrugarh, Lakhmpur, Sivasagar, Tinsukiya, and Jorhat districts of Assam. Six teams of NDRF were airlifted from Kolkata and eight teams from Bhubaneshwar on Friday night, ANI said.

All NDRF teams are fully equipped with various flood rescues and life-saving equipment. Some additional teams are kept on standby at NDRF battalion locations for further deployment as the situation arises. An NDRF control room in Delhi is also closely monitoring the situation round the clock and is in touch with the state administration, ANI reported.

Meanwhile, the Inland Water Transport (IWT) department in Assam has suspended the ferry service in Dibrugarh district following the inputs and advisory from the Chinese government. "We have suspended the ferry service in Dibrugarh as Dibrugarh is the first point for the waters to enter Brahmaputra river. There is no report of any significant increase in the water level. However, as a precautionary measure, we have suspended the ferry service in the district," said Bharat Bhushan Choudhury, Director of the IWT, Assam.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Saturday night said that NDRF companies have already reached the state and are being deployed in sensitive districts. He has also asked the disaster management authorities in Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur and Tinsukia districts to remain alert for flash flood-like situation. Sonowal has also asked the disaster management authorities in Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur and Tinsukia districts to remain alert for any probable flash flood-like situation and any kind of eventuality.

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: "Based on the information provided, all relevant authorities of the Central and 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."

China had informed India of the water levels in the artificial lake in Tibet on Thursday. According to The Associated Press the water level had risen to 131 feet on Thursday. The report also said that China has evacuated around 6,000 people in Tibet around the area where the lake has formed.

Chinese Embassy spokesperson Counselor Ji Rong had earlier said that his country has activated the 'Emergency Information Sharing Mechanism' with India following the landslide. The reason cited behind the landslide was "natural causes".

The river is known as Yaluzangbu in China, and is called Siang when it enters Arunachal Pradesh and Brahmaputra in Assam.

Ji had said the Hydrological Bureau of Tibet Autonomous Region has begun to share with the Indian side hydrological information every hour, such as the water level and flow rate at the Nuxia hydrological station and the temporary hydrological station downstream of the barrier lake.

With inputs from agencies

 


Updated Date: Oct 21, 2018 12:20 PM

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