A preliminary assessment of the 7th February 2021 flashflood in lower Dhauli Ganga valley, Central Himalaya, India
A short-lived flashflood in Rishi and Dhauli Ganga rivers on 7th February 2021, Uttarakhand Himalaya, killed 65 people with 141 reported missing (official estimate) and devastated two hydropower projects. Geomorphological observations supported by meteorological data suggest that the flood was triggered by a combination of avalanche and debris flow. The Dhauli Ganga valley has preserved ponded sedimentary sequences (laminated sand and silty-clay), suggesting that the valley is prone to episodic mega foods in the recent geological past. Considering that the receding glaciers in the higher Himalaya have left behind enormous sediment, unusual weather events are likely to generate such disasters more frequently as the climate becomes warmer. Thus, the study calls for not only incorporating the disaster risk assessment in the developmental planning of the Himalayan region but also recommends routine monitoring of the potential areas of structural failures in the glaciated valleys along with supra-glacial lakes.
Volume 131, 2022
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