POKHARA/KATHMANDU: A slide of large masses of snow and ice coming down from the Annapurna Mountain range triggered a massive flood in the Seti River in Kaski district on Saturday morning, leaving at least five dead, dozens missing and affrighting the people as the floods entered the Pokhara Valley through Ramghat.
The flood has swept away Kharapani Bazaar of Sardikhola VDC in the district while making its way to the Valley.
Locals dwelling on the banks of Seti River have been left with no other options than to feel the terror as the floodwater entered from Kharapani --where flood swept away three women whose identity is yet to be ascertained,destroyed riverside huts, suspension bridges, trees, and vegetations—to Pokhara, said Mekh Bahadur Gurung of Kharapani.
Locals looking at the swollen river at Ramghat of Pokhara. Photo: Bharat Koirala
“Flood was triggered as the snow blanket in the mountains was disrupted due to continuous lightening and it melted down while rolling down,” Sudeep Kayastha, the chief of Pokhara-based Regional Meteorological Office, said.
According to him, this is a natural phenomenon and this may continue for some more days.
Preliminary reports say five people among those who were swept away by the swollen river at different places have been found dead, according to DIG Rajendra Singh Bhandari. The identity of the deceased is yet to be ascertained, however.
Three others have been found injured on the river bank, police further said. The injured are receiving treatment at Manipal Hospital.
Police taking the bodies found on the Seti River bank to the Western Regional Hospital in Pokhara. Photo: Bharat Koirala
A restaurant owner at Sardikhola, Mohan Tamrakar, who was taken away by the flood, has also sustained injuries and is also undergoing treatment.
The disaster also swept away four trucks at Bhujrung Khola of Kaski district in the morning. Bhujrung Khola is only 17 km away from Pokhara.
The apocalyptic flood also swamped a picnic bus parked on the bank of Seti River at Kharapani. Only three members of that picnic group are able to be contacted.
Locals have thronged KI Singh Bridge, Mahendra Pul and Narayansthan in Pokhara to witness the deluge.
Settlements on river banks have been evacuated by the Nepal Police and Nepal Army foreseeing the possible threat.
Logs deposited by the flood at the Seti Dam in Yamdi. Photo: Bharat Koirala
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has directed the concerned security bodies to leave no stone unturned in carrying out rescue operation.
Of late, a Nepal Army helicopter has reached Pokhara.
(Bharat Koirala contributed to this report from Pokhara)