Drones to the rescue in Melamchi

The occurrences of natural hazards are inevitable in the Nepal Himalaya due to active tectonics and strong monsoon. These hazards are turned into disasters claiming lives and destroying properties. The Melamchi Flood is one the recent extreme disasters that occurred in the late night of June 15. The debris flow hit the Melamchi Bazaar and destroyed a number of houses, infrastructure along the road corridor. This debris flood partly destroyed the Headworks of the Melamchi Water supply project.

The exact origin of debris flow is still in discussion in the scientific arena but evidence suggests that the loose material on the upstream part of the Melamchi River was reactivated by the prolonged rainfall.  The Gorkha Earthquake-2015 has shattered the Nepal Himalaya and 14 districts of central Nepal were severely affected.  Sindhupalchowk is one of the highly affected districts and the location of the major aftershock epicenter.  Studies suggest that the mountain relaxation time after a major earthquake needs some years. Therefore, this mountain chain is fragile as it is still in the adjustment stage.

According to the locals, the local government authority issued the warning after knowing the river damming in upstream. Local people were suggested to move up to the higher ground. The flood from the Indrawati hit the Melamchi Bazar in the night and much more devastation due to debris flow in the Melamchi River. The damaged assessment is still going on using drone surveys and ground surveillance. This flood has also caused damage to several public infrastructures mainly Roads Networks, Bridges, Electricity Transmission Lines, and structures of the much-awaited Melamchi Drinking Water Project. The preliminary study has estimated the loss of 260 households that displaced more than 600 people. Many researchers are doing research to identify the cause and mechanism of this flood to understand the natural process in the Himalayas. Click here to view our storymap.
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