Friday, September 14, 2012

A day of rain & our frailty exposed

1. Between 13Sep afternoon & early14Sep2012, an upper air cyclonic circulation together with the monsoon trough lying near the foothills of our region (see satellite image above) dumped nearly 160mm of rain in Kalimpong.
2. This rainfall amounting to nearly 40% of the normal monthly rainfall (410mm as per IMD) for the month of Sep, grossly exposed how unprepared and frail we were:-
a) A landslide at the old Leprosy hospital, Kalimpong area has compelled the administration to evacuate a village (Chota Bhalukhop) directly below it since more rain is forecast tonight (see slide 2 from top).
b) Rock and debris brought down by a slide at Mahakal dara had blocked the road to the village and rocks were still hurtling down even as I photographed villagers there. (see slide 3 from top).
c) At East Main road, Kalimpong a slide which took place at 2am this morning had destabilized the foundation of 5 houses. The distraught families were talking of moving to a school tonight.
(see slide 4 from top).
d) At 14th Mile in Kalimpong, the jhora or mountain rivulet had pulled down parts of the mountain side and also caused severe subsidence in parts of the Kalimpong - Algarah road. (see slide 5 from top).
e) Again at East Main Road a bamboo thicket next to a church had collapsed, pulling down the foundation (see slide 5 from top).
f) At Bara Bhalukhop 2 houses were partially damaged by slides.
2. The only saving grace, was there were no casualties.

Praful Rao

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