Itanagar: The Arunachal Pradesh government has issued a high alert about a possible flash flood in  East Siang district after a natural barrier, created by a landslide on the mainstream of the Yarlung Tsangpo river in China, has blocked the river's flow.

The official order issued by the district administration stated: “According to the Central Water Commission, which has got reports from the Chinese and Arunachal Pradesh governments, due to landslides, the Milin section of the mainstream of Brahmaputra/Yarlung Zangbo has been blocked, which will have an impact on the water situation in the lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo river.”

The landslide occurred in the wee hours of October 17, as per Chinese media reports. District officials said water levels in Siang, as the river is called in Arunachal, have reduced over the past 48 hours. Sudden flash floods in the downstream areas can lead to major destruction and loss of life and properties similar to the flood in June 2000. 

The Chinese government has already evacuated 6,000 people in Tibet around the area where the lake has formed, news reports stated.

The East Siang district administration has also cautioned and advised people not to venture into Siang river or its banks and other surrounding areas. In June 2000, a sudden high discharge of water from the Yarlung Tsangbo caused extensive damage in Arunachal Pradesh and other downstream areas in India.

The order said the water level of the Siang is showing a downward trend at Upper Siang,Yingkiong. The gauge reading station at Komlighat, Pasighat, recorded the water level at 1.3 metres below the normal range on Thursday. People living in low-lying areas (both the right and left banks of the Siang) that is, Jarku, Paglek, SS Mission, Jarkong, Banskota, Berung, Jampani, Sigar, Ralling, Borguli, Seram, Kongkul, Namsing, Mer and Gadum should be alert but not panic.

Meanwhile, state Congress MP Ninong Ering has written to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and minister of state for water resources Arun Ram Meghwal informing them about the situation.

He said in the letter that the Chinese government is keeping a close watch. “If there is further information, they (China) must notify us in time and the government must proactively engage with them on this issue,” the letter said.
(with agency inputs)