Thousands have been evacuated as water continues to rise
On Tuesday morning (11 October), a massive landslide occurred on the mountainside at the intersection of Phayul, Bhatang and Derong counties.
The magnitude of the landslide caused a serious blockage of the Drichu river, resulting in flooding of the surrounding area. The Drichu River represents a crucial fresh-water source, forming the upstream section of the Yangtze – China’s most important and the third largest river in the world.
Over 400 people had to be evacuated from the nearby Bolo Township in Jomda County (Chamdo, TAR), due to the excessive flooding.
At the time of reporting, the blockage had still not been dealt with. With water continuing to rise, more than 13,000 additional people from 10 nearby counties are also being relocated.
Chinese authorities have been conducting excessive mining, development and dam construction projects in the area which, according to the local population, are directly linked to the increased occurrences of flooding, particularly in the regions of Karze and Ngawa. Chinese sources claim these incidents are natural and unrelated.
The Drichu River has been an essential component in a series of Chinese large-scale hydro-dam development projects at the Tibetan Plateau’s southeast corner. Aimed at meeting the increasing electricity demands of distant Chinese cities, the hydro-dam constructions are not there to benefit the local Tibetan population.
Alongside environmental degradation, pollution and disruption of the unique ecosystems, various Tibetan rights groups have reported that more than 17, 000 Tibetans might be forced out of their homes due to the planned dam constructions (source: Tibet Justice Center). Further concerns expressed in the report point to the disastrous impacts these projects will have on historically important and sacred Buddhist sites in the area.