The BBC has today covered the 04Oct2023 GLOF disaster in the Teesta valley here and although the report by Cherylann Mollan, Mumbai
has many glitches and errors, I welcome BBC's coverage merely
because the National Media has covered it too sketchily or missed it out altogether and the Central
and State Governments of Sikkim and W Bengal seem to think the GLOF incident was too insignificant, affecting too few to be bothered about.
Of the many errors in the report, I can point out a few glaring ones:
- The 04Oct2023 disaster has somehow been named the 'Sikkim flood disaster' which precludes large downstream areas in Kalimpong district (W Bengal) which were also badly affected by the GLOF. This has been made worse by W Bengal government not even considering the event, a disaster.
- In all probability, what triggered the GLOF was a large landslide or an avalanche and NOT a cloud burst as mentioned by the BBC. Read here
- The GLOF which started from South Lhonak Lake (elevation approx 17,300') late in the night of 03Oct2023, wrecked many areas around Lachen but the first major town (not
nearby village) it devastated was Chungthang (elevation 5,500') approximately 62km downstream and where the Sikkim Urja Stage III 1200MW dam was located. The dam was destroyed by the GLOF which hit Chungthang at 12.35am on 04Oct2023.
I totally agree with Mathew Payne's (the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment at the University of Leicester) statement in the BBC article:
catastrophe is a stark reminder of the escalating challenges faced by
the verdant Himalayan regions and the increasing magnitude of flooding
events necessitates resilient infrastructure capable of tolerating climate-induced excessive rainfall"
which is why we emailed our report and recommendations on the 'Teesta valley GLOF disaster' to the NDMA and SDMA's of Sikkim and W Bengal on 10Nov2023. The recommendations are essentially short term, aimed at tackling the Monsoons of 2024 which are just 3 months away.
We are yet to receive any reply to our report.
My thanks to BBC for this report on the 04Oct2023 Teesta Valley GLOF disaster.