Itanagar: The Arunachal Pradesh government has issued an alert about a possible flash flood after a natural barrier created by a massive landslide on the upper stream of the Yarlung Tsangpo river in China blocked the flow of the waters.

The East Siang district administration on Thursday issued an alert saying that the blockade caused by the landslide on River Yarlung Tsangpo could cause a flash flood in the downstream areas leading to a loss of life and property. River Yarlung Tsangpo is known as the Siang in Arunachal Pradesh and the Brahmaputra in Assam.

The East Siang district administration has issued a caution, advising the people not to venture into River Siang — or even its banks and the catchment area. It has asked the people living in the low-lying areas to remain alert and not panic.

“As per the information received by the Central Water Commission, landslides will block the Milin section of the main stream of Brahmaputra/Yarlung Tsangpo from late October 16 to early morning of October 17, which will have an impact on the water situation of the lower reaches of the river,” a top official of East Siang district said. The Milin section lies about 80 km downstream from River Yarlung Tsangpo to the Nuxia hydrological station.

The official further said that the waters of the river is ebbing at Upper Siang at the Yingkiong town. The depth was found to be 1.30 m less than what is observed on an average during the normal discharge. This height of the waters was noted at 9 AM on October 17. It has resulted in a reduced water flow at the gauge reading station, Komlighat Pasighat. This was observed by the Arunachal Pradesh Disaster Management department on Thursday.

The East Siang district administration observed that the blockade caused by the landslide at the Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet may burst any time, causing a flash flood in the downstream areas. This, the administration said, might cause a loss of life and property as observed in the year 2000.

As a preventive measure, the administration advised the people to refrain from venturing into River Siang or even its catchment areas for collection of firewood, fishing, bathing etc.

The administration further advised people living in low-lying areas (both the right and left bank of the river) — Jarku, Paglek, SS Mission, Jarkong, Banskota, Berung, Jampani, Sigar, Ralling, Borguli, Seram, Kongkul, Namsing, Mer, Gadum etc — to stay alert but not panic.

The administration said that the people of the region must not collect driftwood such logs, trees, bamboo clamps and any uprooted vegetative material brought in by the river from the upstream and parked along the banks, but left untouched. This would, the administration said, serve as a natural flood control mechanism.

The East Siang district administration said that a violation of its advisory would invite action under Section 188 of the IPC and other relevant provisions of law.

On the other hand, the Upper Siang district administration has issued an alert asking the Tuting additional deputy commissioner and EACs of Geku, Jengging, to set up control rooms in the respective offices and monitor the water level at Tuting on an hourly basis.

Meanwhile, Arunachal Pradesh’s Congress MP Ninong Ering has written a letter to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, urging her to intervene in the matter at the earliest and protect the land, water and precious lives.

In his letter, Ering said that China was paying a close attention to the blockage of the Yarlung Tsangpo. If there is information of some danger, China must notify India in time and the government must proactively engage with them on the issue.

Ering has, in his letter, mentioned a “flood-reporting channel” for sharing information on the Yarlung Tsangpo-Brahmaputra that India and China had agreed upon.

In June 2000, more than 100 people had died in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam following flash floods caused by similar conditions.