A massive landslide has blocked the Kali Gandaki River at Baisari in Bhagwati VDC of Myagdi district early Sunday morning. The landslip has buried 25 houses in Baisari. No human casualties have been reported yet. Panic-stricken locals in Baisari and areas including district headquarter Beni, Ghatan, Benibazar, Galeshwor, Pokharebagar have started to move to higher grounds after the river was blocked by the landslide at around 1 am this morning. Ministry of Science and Technology has declared 'high alert' in the settlements along the banks of Kaligandaki River owing to continuous landslides that have blocked the River. Flood Forecasting Project of the Ministry has appealed to the residents of settlements in the 7 districts below the landslide location the river to stay alert. "A landslide based dam has been formed at Kaligandaki river approximately 10 km upstream of Beni Bazar. Residents living downstream in Galeshwor Bazaar and Beni Bazaar need to be on high alert," states a warning on the Ministry's website. "Parts of Syangja, Parbat, Myagdi, Baglung, Gulmi, Palpa, and Nawalparasi districts in the downstream of this river also need to stay high alert." Nepal Police, through their Twitter account, informed that the water level in the artificial dam created after the blockage of the river has risen by 150 meters. Myagdi district headquarters, Beni bazaar, is said to be at the biggest risk due to the blockage as the construction of gabion walls 3 km from the confluence of the rivers on both sides has not been completed. The campaign was launched in 1998 and has only completed a gabion wall covering only a kilometer of Myagdi and Kaligandaki rivers. Locals have already vacated the district headquarter Beni bazaar and move to safer grounds. Transportation along the Beni-Jomsom road section has come to a halt. “We have asked common people to remain on high alert and move to safer grounds.
The full scale of the damage has not arrived yet as the incident occurred at around midnight,” said Myagdi Chief District Officer Tek Bahadur KC. A chopper with six rescue personnel onboard has flown for Myagdi from the Capital. The team will land one kilometer upstream and will attempt to drain out the water from the artificial lake, Nepal Police informed. Nepal Army, Nepal Police personnel, and officials from the Home Ministry have already reached the incident site. Meanwhile, Prakriti Raj Joshi, a geologist with Nepal Electricity Authority who returned from the dammed river, said that the water level has been constantly rising as the security personnel has not been able to find an outlet for the accumulated water. Nawa Raj Sharma, a UML lawmaker from Myagdi who is now in Beni, said that the continuous falling of debris is making it difficult for the rescue team to drain out the water. The chopper which flew into the district with the rescue team has not been able to locate the exact blockage of water as its view has been blocked by the dust from the falling debris.
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