6 May 2012
Flash flood in Nepal kills at least 15, with up to 36 more missing
Posted by Dave Petley
Yesterday the Seti River in Kaski District in Nepal was affected by a catastrophic and very sudden flash flood. The flood affected the villages of Kharapani in Sardikhola VDC; Sadal in Machhapuchhre VDC; Yamdi; and Ramghat in Kaski district. To date 15 people are confirmed to have been killed, but the toll will inevitably rise. Initial estimates are that there are a further 36 people missing, including three tourists. The image below shows the aftermath of the flood:
The most informative reports to date are on the Republica and ekantipur websites.
This is an interesting event as the flood was clearly very large. In most cases in Nepal such extreme events occurring without rainfall are associated with either the collapse of a glacial lake dam (a so-called GLOF) or the collapse of a landslide dam. Pradeep Mool of ICIMOD, who has undertaken the definitive studies of GLOFs in the Himalayas, has noted here that the features of this flood suggest that it was not a GLOF, and indicates that a landslide was more likely. Incidentally, most international reports indicate that it may have been triggered by an avalanche, but this would be really quite unusual.
This post provides background information about losses from landslides in Nepal.
Update: The BBC has a video which appears to show a late stage (i.e. not the main) flood wave at the site, and the aftermath of the flood.
Thanks to Adrian Moon for his hard work on this story; to Tessa/Bobby Rogowski and Cathal Ferris for sending links; and to Ray Duray for highlighting the video.
BBC has video:
The latest death toll is 17 dead 47 missing. The cause was neither glacial lake outburst nor ice avalanche but the collapse of a rockface on the eastern flank of Machapuchre.
You may find these interesting:
[…] the last few days Colin Stark and I have spent some time trying to determine the nature of the landslide that was responsible for the catastrophic flood on the Seti River, close to …, which killed 72 people. We are trying to tie together the amazing data from the seismic network […]
You are doing amaing jobs Dave! Hats off Mate
[…] the flash flood, David Petley of the International Landslide Centre at Durham University posted a blog entry discussing a potential […]
[…] blocked the Seti River, triggering the flood. Colin Stark, a geophysicist at Lamont-Doherty, read the story on landslide expert David Petley’s blog and wondered if the event had been big enough to generate […]
[…] helped identify the root cause of a flash flood at the Seti River in Nepal. He knew that rainfall couldn’t have been a culprit behind the flooding because it was May, well before monsoon […]
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