Qinhai plateau Covering an area of over 1.2 million square kilometers ( 470,000 square miles) — an area about twice the size of Texas or twice the size of France — Tibet Autonomous Region is located in the southwest frontier of China. Its area makes up one-eighth of the total national area. It is the second largest Province or Region in China. Only Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in west China is bigger. Most of Tibet is covered by a high, wind swept plateau that receives little rain and is bitterly cold in the winter. It is separated from Nepal, India, Bhutan and Myanmar by the Himalayas, which include Mt. Everest.There are fresh water and salt water lakes.
Administratively, Tibet is divided into one municipality and six prefectures. The municipality is Lhasa, while the six prefectures are Shigatse, Ngari, Shannan, Chamdo, Nagchu and Nyingchi. These are further divided into counties. Tibet borders Myanmar, India, Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal to the south. India (including the disputed Kashmir) lie to the west. With nearly 4,000 kilometers of international bounders it marks much of China's southwest barrier. Within China, Tibet borders: 1) Xinjiang Uygur autonomous Region and Qinghai Province over the Kunlun and the Tanggula Mountains to the north; 2) Sichuan Province across the Jinsha River on the east; and 3) Yunnan Province to the southeast.
Geographically, Tibet can be divided into three major parts, the east, north and south. 1) The eastern part is forest region, occupying approximately one-fourth of the land. Forests, some of them virgin forests, occupy much of this region. 2) The northern part is open grassland, where nomads and yak and sheep dwell here. This part occupies approximately half of Tibet. 3) The southern and central part is an agricultural region, occupying about one-fourth of Tibet's land area. All of Tibet’s largest cities and towns, including Lhasa, Shigatse, Gyantse and Tsetang, are located in this area. It is considered the cultural center of Tibet.
Southern Tibet is bounded by the Himalayas, and on the north by a broad mountain system. The system at no point narrows to a single range; generally there are three or four across its breadth. As a whole the system forms the watershed between rivers flowing to the Indian Ocean — the Indus, Brahmaputra and Salween and its tributaries — and the streams flowing into the undrained salt lakes to the north.
Tibet is a thinly populated. There is very little water in Tibet. Snow frequently falls but rarely accumulates. Even so 47 percent of the world’s population gets water from rivers that originate in Tibet. The “tjale” is a 1.35 million square kilometer permafrost-like layer of ice lying under the surface of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau.Sunset occurs very late in Lhasa because it has the same time zone as Beijing. The Tibetan light especially in the morning and night is very impressive.
Good Websites and Sources on Tibetan Environmental Issues: Tibet Environmental Watch tew.org ; Tibet Environmental articles tibet.org ; CNN report on China Exploiting Tibetan Resources money.cnn.com ; China Daily report on Huge Mineral Resources in Tibet chinadaily.com ; Global Warming and Tibetan Glaciers China Daily on Global Warming in Tibet chinadaily.com ; Mountains: China Trekking China Trekking ; Summit Climb Summit Climb ; Trekking Tibet Trekking Tibet ; ; Himalayas Wikipedia article on the Himalayas Wikipedia ; Mt. Everest : Wikipedia Wikipedia ;Summit Post Summit Post ; Glaciers: All About Glaciers nsidc.org ; Wikipedia article on Glaciers Wikipedia ; Wikipedia article on Avalanches Wikipedia
See Separate Articles: HIMALAYAS factsanddetails.com ; HIMALAYAN GLACIERS: IMPORTANCE, AVALANCHES AND DANGEROUS FLOODS factsanddetails.com; TIBET, THE HIMALAYAS, MELTING GLACIERS AND GLOBAL WARMING factsanddetails.com; TIBETAN NATURE factsanddetails.com MOUNTAINS IN TIBET Factsanddetails.com/China ; GLACIERS AND AVALANCHES IN TIBET Factsanddetails.com/China ; ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN TIBET factsanddetails.com; NATURAL RESOURCES, MINING AND OPPOSITION TO IT IN TIBET factsanddetails.com; ENERGY IN TIBET: HYDRO, SOLAR, GEOTHERMAL AND GAS factsanddetails.com; TIBETAN ANIMALS AND PLANTS factsanddetails.com
Tibetan plateau The Tibetan plateau is the highest and largest plateau in the world, with an average elevation of around 4,570 meters (15,000 feet). Ringed by most of the tallest mountains on the planet, it covers an area larger than western Europe or about one-third the size of the continental United States. According to the Guinness Book of Records, it covers 2,500,000 square kilometers (970,000 square miles), including areas outside of Tibet. Accounting for a fourth of China's total land area, it also is the home of the world's highest lake, an unnamed 19,000-foot-high body of water — with a maximum length of 5 miles and a maximum width of 3 miles — and the highest named lake, 18,400-foot-high Burog Co, with a maximum length of 11 miles and a maximum width of 5 miles.
The Tibetan Plateau is known as Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau in China. It is the largest plateau in China, covering nearly a quarter of the national total land area. With an elevation averaging between 4,000 and 5,000 meters, it is the highest plateau on earth, and is known as the "roof of the world." The Himalayas are located in southern Tibetan Plateau and its highest peak, 8,848.13-meter (29,029.3-foot) -high Mt. Everest (Qomolangma) is the highest mountains in the world.
The Tibetan Plateau covers most of the Tibet Autonomous Region, northwestern Yunnan, the western half of Sichuan, southern Gansu and Qinghai provinces in Western China, the Indian regions of Ladakh and Lahaul and Spiti (Himachal Pradesh) as well as Bhutan. It is surrounded and traversed by several mountain ranges: The Tibetan Plateau is surrounded by the massive mountain ranges: the inner Himalayan range to the south, the Kunlun Mountains to the north,the Qilian Mountains to the northeast, and the rugged Karakoram range of northern Kashmir to the west.
The Tibetan plateau is 2,500 kilometers (1,600 miles) from east to west and 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from north to south. It is bounded by the Himalayas, to the south, by the Karakoram range to the west, by the Tangkula Mountains to the east, and the Kunlun and Nan Shan mountains and the Taklamakan Desert to the north. Movement into the area has traditionally been made along mountain corridors. The most difficult obstacles were often at the lower elevations were mighty rivers created valleys with step slopes and cliffs. The upper elevations were often marked by plains and plateaus and relatively gentle slopes.
The Tibetan Plateau is the source of several of the world's great rivers, including the he Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra, Mekong, Yangtze and Yellow River. Before it was pushed upwards by mountain building activity, the plateau was a well watered plain but as it and the Himalayas were pushed up it was deprived of rain and became the dry plateau that its is today. The Tibetan Plateau also has more than 1,000 lakes, including Qinghai Lake, China's largest saltwater lake, and Namtso Lake, the second largest saltwater lake in China and the highest major saltwater lake in the world.
The Tibetan plateau is rich in natural resources. It is home to some of China’s largest copper reserves and significant deposits of chromium, iron, lithium, gold and other minerals . State-owned energy companies have been prospecting the region for decades. They have found promising oil and natural gas reserves. The regions' nearly 500 salt lakes contain industrial and agricultural raw materials such as borate and potassium salt. [Source: Stephen Chen, South China Morning Post, April 22, 2017]
High Altitude Places in Tibet
J. Madeleine Nash wrote in Smithsonian magazine, “In geologic terms, the Tibetan Plateau is fairly recent. The uplift that created it began about 55 million years ago, when the Indian subcontinent crashed into Eurasia. The battle between these two giant slabs of earth's crust continues to this day, pushing the Himalayas skyward by nearly a half inch per year. As the plateau was slowly uplifted, it reached into progressively thinner layers of the atmosphere, each one less capable of screening out ultraviolet radiation in summer and trapping infrared heat in winter. [Source: J. Madeleine Nash, Smithsonian magazine, July 2007]
There are 40 peaks over 22,000 feet high. Roads routinely pass over 16,000- to 17,000-foot passes. With the average elevation of over 4,000 meters (13, 123 feet) , Tibet is known at the “roof of the world” or the third pole of the earth”.
The following is a lift of the altitude of different places of Tibet (Places, altitude in meters (feet)): 1) Lhasa: 3658 meters high (12001 feet high); 2) Nagqu: 4507 meters high (14787 feet high); 3) Gonggar: 3750 meters high (12300 feet high); 4) Qamdo: 3205 meters high (10515 feet high); 5) Chushui: 3503 meters high (11490 feet high); 6) Damshung: 4200 meters high (13780 feet high); 7) Shigatse: 3836 meters high (12585 feet high); 8) Amdo: 4800 meters high (15748 feet high); 9) Gyangtse: 4040 meters high (13255 feet high); 10) Pome: 2750 meters high (9022 feet high); 11) Tingri: 4300 meters high (14108 feet high); 12) Zayui: 2325 meters high (7628 feet high); 13) Nyalam: 3200 meters high (10496 feet high); 14) Tsedang: 3500 meters high (11483 feet high); 15) Rongbuk: 5030 meters high (16498 feet high); 16) Lagarze: 4454 meters high (14609 feet high); 17) Lhatse: 4010 meters high (13152 feet high); 18) Pagri: 4300 meters high (14108 feet high); 19) Everest Base Camp: 5150 meters high (16892 feet high); 20) Shiquanhe: 4300 meters high (14108 feet high); 21) Nyingchi: 3000 meters high (9843 feet high); 22) Purang: 3700 meters high (12136 feet high); 23) Sagya: 4200 meters high (13776 feet high); 24) Rulog: 4250 meters high (13940 feet high).
Lake Region and River Region of Tibet
Tibet can be divided into two parts, the "lakes region" in the west and northwest, and the "river region", which lies to the east, south, and west of the “lakes region.”. Both regions receive limited precipitation because they are situated in the rain shadow of the Himalayas. The lake region has traditionally been inhabited by nomads and animal herders. The river region has traditionally been more agricultural with farmers growing crops in the river valleys.
The lake region extends from the Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh, Lake Rakshastal, Yamdrok Lake and Lake Manasarovar near the source of the Indus River, to the sources of the Salween, the Mekong and the Yangtze. Other lakes include Dagze Co, Namtso, and Pagsum Co. This wind-swept 1,000-kilometer-wide desert is called Chang Tang. Chang Tang Reserve in northern Tibet is a 247,120-square-kilometer (115,000-square-mile) conservation area in one of the remotest areas in the world.. Larger than Arizona, it is the second largest nature reserve in the world after Greenland National Park Chang Tang is covered mainly with high pastures and is uninhabited except for a few nomadic yak headers. The average elevation in the reserve is between 15,000 and 17,000 feet. There are no trees or shrubs and the temperatures in the winter can drop below minus 40̊F. There are no river outlets. The mountain ranges are spread out, rounded, disconnected and separated by flat, shallow valleys. The reserve is designed to protect three species of animals: the Tibetan wild ass, the wild yak and the argali sheep. Chang Tang means “northern plains." Largely unexplored, it is home to snow leopard, ibex, Tibetan antelope (chiru), Tibetan wild ass, bharal or blue sheep (nawa na), black necked crane, wild yak, lynx, wolves and very rare Tibetan brown bear.
This part of Tibet AR is freckled with large and small lakes. Some are freshwater but most are salty or alkaline, intersected by streams. The spotty permafrost over the Chang Tang creates bogs with tussocks of grass that resembles the landscape of Siberian tundra. In dried lakes there are deposits of soda, potash, borax and salt. The lake region has numerous, widely-scatted hot springs that are known for producing columns of ice, where boiling water froze while rising out of the ground.
The river region features fertile mountain valleys such as those found on Yarlung Tsangpo River (the upper courses of the Brahmaputra) and its major tributary, the Nyang River, the Salween, the Yangtze, the Mekong, and the Yellow River. The Yarlung Tsangpo Canyon, formed by a horseshoe bend in the river, is the deepest, and maybe longest canyon in the world. Among the mountains there are many narrow valleys. Some of the most populated parts of Tibet — the valleys of Lhasa, Shigatse, Gyantse and the Brahmaputra — are found here. There is no permafrost here. The land has rich soil and is well irrigated, and richly cultivated.
Tibet is the source of many of the Asia's principal rivers, which include: the Brahmaputra (Yarlung Tsangpo), the Indus (Senge Khabab), the Sutlej (Langchen Khabab), the Karnali (Macha Khabab), Arun (Phongchu), the Salween (Gyalmo Ngulchu), the Mekong (Zachu), the Yangtse (Drichu), the Huangho or Yellow River (Machu) and the Irrawaddy. These rivers flow into ten countries such as China, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. These rivers and their tributaries are the life-blood of hundreds of millions of people in Asia. More than 15,000 natural lakes are found in Tibet. Major ones include and some of the prominent lakes are Mansarovar (Mapham Yumtso), Namtso, Yamdrok Yumtso and the largest, Kokonor Lake (Tso Ngonpo). [Source: Tibetravel.org]
Weather in Tibet
Snow in Lhasa Tibet has a harsh climate. The temperatures frequently drop below minus 30̊F in the winter and rise above 100̊F in the summer, with temperatures sometimes fluctuating 80 ̊F in a single day. For every 500 meters climbed the temperature drops 3̊C. At the summits of high mountains winds can kick up to 90 mph and temperatures can drop many degrees below zero. Generally Tibet is cool or cold and people walk around bundled up in many layers of clothes. It is no surprise that many Tibetans believe that hell is a bitterly cold place not an inferno.
Tibet has a highland climate, with less precipitation than most parts of China. It has thin air and intense solar radiation. There is a great difference in climate between the north and south — the northern Tibet Plateau has a mean annual temperature of -2 degrees Celsius and is covered with snow half of the year, and the southern Tibet valleys are much more temperate and humid. [Source: chinaculture.org, Chinadaily.com.cn, Ministry of Culture, P.R.China]
Angie Eagan and Rebecca Weiner wrote in “CultureShock! China”: Temperatures in Lhasa range from -10°C (14°F) to highs at or barely above 20°C (68°F), May to September. Its rainy season is June to August. It is suggested that the best time to trek in the Himalayas is October or November, when the rainy season is finished and before the winter cold sets in. Sandstorms are more common than rainstorms in Tibet. It is an arid place where the midday sun suggests short sleeves, while within eight hours you can be in a harsh cold well below freezing.[Source: “CultureShock! China: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette” by Angie Eagan and Rebecca Weiner, Marshall Cavendish 2011]
Evan Osnos wrote in The New Yorker blog, “The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau does not go in much for air-conditioning. This is yak country, after all, the high-altitude stretch of western China where Tibetans proudly describe their winters as so punishing and bleak that citizens are celebrated for the ability to drink away the season. Even in summer, the nighttime temperatures usually sink into the low fifties, attracting tourists from China’s broiling south and east.” [Source: Evan Osnos, The New Yorker blog, August 3, 2010]
Red Snow and Extraordinary Dryness of Tibet
Many a Chinese mountaineers have observed red spots on ice and snow 5,000 meters above sea level in the Himalayan Mountains and wondered what produced it. The so-called "red snow" is not real snow, but a kind of algae that grows on high mountains. The algae contain some pigments and are able to conduct photosynthesis, and their color varies with the ratio of pigments accordingly. These strongly cold-resistant algae are concentrated on the high mountains in very cold areas. [Source: chinaculture.org]
Evan Osnos wrote in The New Yorker blog, “Tibet is so dry that grain can be stored for 50 years. The extremes of hot and cold, coupled with the thin air and high altitude sunshine, are enough to break granite mountains into sand, and generate fierce winds, stinging hailstorms, and blinding dust storms. Bad weather can come up fast and furious in the Himalayas. I camped outside once and set up tent on what I thought was a calm night. When I climbed out of my tent to relieve myself a huge gust of wind came out of nowhere and collapsed my tent and carried it away. Then, while walking around with one shoe looking for some shelter, the wind stopped as quickly as it began."
To forecast the weather some local people throw salt into the air and then toss it onto a fire. If it crackles it means a storm is far away if it stays silent it means a storm in near. A drought in Tibet in 2009 was the worst in three decades according to Chinese sources. Thousands of hectares was parched and 13,000 head of cattle died.
Monsoon Climate of the Tibetan Plateau
The Tibetan plateau and the Himalayas are believed to been involved in the creation of the monsoons and they are certainly a driving force behind them today. Brook Larmer wrote in National Geographic, “At some point, probably between 15 million and 22 million years ago, the temperature swing from summer to winter became so extreme that it powered the Asian monsoon, a giant oscillating breeze that drives the yearly rain cycle across a vast swath of Asia, the most populous region on earth. In summer, the Tibetan Plateau heats up, and like a huge hot-air balloon, air across the plateau rises, creating a zone of low pressure that sucks in moist air from the Bay of Bengal and the South China and Arabian seas, bringing rain to much of Asia. In winter, cold air descends from the Tibetan Plateau and pushes dry continental air seaward. [Source: Brook Larmer, National Geographic, April 2010]
“The Asian monsoon created the modern-day river basins whose fertile flood plains sustain about half the world's population. Many scientists believe the monsoon also helped cool the planet. Ever so slowly, the rains removed carbon dioxide, the heat-trapping gas most responsible for global warming, from the atmosphere. When the gas is dissolved in rainwater, it turns into an acid, which then reacts with rock to form more stable carbon compounds. In this fashion, says Boston University paleoclimatologist Maureen Raymo, the Asian monsoon set the stage for the succession of ice ages that started about three million years ago.”
“Now it is becoming clear that such natural mechanisms for sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide are being overwhelmed by the burning of fossil fuels”coal, oil and natural gas. There is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today than at any time during at least the past 650,000 years, based on analyses of the chemical composition of air bubbles entrapped in Antarctic ice over that time. By the end of this century, carbon dioxide levels could easily double, and many scientists expect global warming to disrupt regional weather patterns — including the Asian monsoon.”
Heat Wave on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau
In August 2010 Osnos stepped off a plane in Xining, a city at an elevation of more than 7,400-feet, on the farthest northern reaches of the plateau, to find it was “hotter than all blinding hell.” [Source: Evan Osnos, The New Yorker blog, August 3, 2010]
“It’s all anyone can talk about,” the driver Su Yanfei shouted above the wind, as we sped down the highway in his Volkswagen Santana, all windows wide down, an experience akin to sitting in the center of a quartet of hair dryers. “It’s never been this hot is what everyone says.” The local paper was packed with stories about the temperature hitting thirty-five degrees Celsius (ninety-six degrees Fahrenheit) in the city and as high as a hundred and thirteen degrees in other parts of northern China. People in Xining roamed the streets at night, glassy-eyed, escaping their sweltering homes. Visitors from Lanzhou, the next big city to the east, told me that television news was calling up grainy footage from the nineteen-thirties to illustrate that the last time it was this hot in Lanzhou, humans had yet to hear of anyone named Chairman Mao.
Day by day, as I moved around the region, I kept a not-so-silent vigil for the first sign of air-conditioning...I never found air-conditioning in Qinghai — and thank god for that. There may be no clearer sign of the End Times than the first moment that a robed Tibetan Buddhist monk catches a summer cough from excess A/C.
Big Earthquake in Tibet and Assam in 1950
An earthquake in Tibet and Assam, India on August 15, 1950 measured 8.6 on the Richter scale. It was the 9th most powerful earthquake ever measured and the most powerful ever on land. The epicenter of the 1950 Assam–Tibet earthquake, also known as the Assam earthquake, was located in the Mishmi Hills in India, south of the Kangri Karpo and just east of the Himalayas. Occurring on a Tuesday evening at 7:39 pm Indian Standard Time, the earthquake was destructive in both Assam (India) and Tibet (China), and approximately 4,800 people were killed. The earthquake is notable as being the largest recorded quake caused by continental collision rather than subduction, and is also notable for the loud noises produced by the quake and reported throughout the region and heard as far away as Norway and England. [Source: Wikipedia]
The 1950 Assam–Tibet earthquake killed 1,526 people in Assam and around 3,300 in Tibet. Alterations of relief were brought about by many rock falls in the Mishmi Hills. Landslides blocked the tributaries of the Brahmaputra. In the Dibang Valley, a landslide lake burst without causing damage, but another at Subansiri River opened after an interval of eight days and the wave, 7 meter (23 foott) high wave, submerged several villages and killed 532 people.
In addition to the extreme shaking, there were floods when the rivers rose high after the earthquake bringing down sand, mud, trees, and all kinds of debris. Pilots flying over the meizoseismal area reported great changes in topography. This was largely due to enormous landslides, some of which were photographed. Heinrich Harrer reported strong shaking in Lhasa and loud cracking noises from the earth.Aftershocks were felt in Lhasa for days. In Rima, Tibet (modern-day Zayü Town), Frank Kingdon-Ward, noted violent shaking, extensive slides, and the rise of the streams. Helen Myers Morse, an American missionary living in Putao, northern Burma at the time, wrote letters home describing the main shake, the numerous aftershocks, and of the noise coming out of the earth. One of the more westerly aftershocks, a few days later, was felt more extensively in Assam than the main shock. This led certain journalists to the belief that the later shock was 'bigger' and must be the greatest earthquake of all time.
India and Nepal Worry About Lack Flood Information from Tibet
India and Nepal say a lack of information from China about glacial lakes and rivers in Tibet could hamper their ability to plan for flash floods. The BBC reported: “Sources say there has been a rise in avalanches, landslide-dammed rivers bursting, glaciers cracking and glacial lakes dangerously filling up. Studies by Chinese scientists have shown glaciers and permafrost rapidly melting in Tibet. Earthquakes also continue to destabilise them. [Source: Navin Singh Khadka Environment reporter, BBC World Service, September 8. 2016]
“A recent study has shown Tibet topping the list of places across the globe that has experienced an increase in water. Mining and dam construction in the Tibetan plateau have further fuelled concerns in downstream countries. In the absence of early warnings from Tibet, water-related disasters can cause human and property losses downstream in Bhutan, Nepal, India and potentially Bangladesh.
“In the past 80 years, scientists have recorded 10 occasions when glacial lakes burst out in Tibet and the flood waters reached Nepal. The Kosi, known as the sorrow of Bihar flooded in 2008, displacing tens of thousands of people in Nepal and India. Locals in Sunsari district in south-eastern Nepal, where the Kosi is at its widest and most powerful, said they have heard about floods from Tibet and were concerned.
“A local water expert Dev Narayan Yadav said fears of future floods were not unfounded. “Our people here know how the bursting of glacial lakes in Tibet have flooded rivers in western Nepal and also in the Brahmaputra basin of India," Mr Yadav explained. “And because the Kosi disaster of 2008 is quite fresh in their memory, they are really wary of what might be happening upstream."
“The Kosi barrage was built by India to control flood water and is operated by Indian authorities. It was built in 1962 and there are concerns it is no longer fit for purpose. The Indian government is planning to build a major dam upstream in Nepal. “Big structures like these make us more scared because they will multiply the disaster and we will suffer," said Mr Yadav
“The Central Water Commission of India is tasked with planning and building the new dam. Officials say they have concerns about flooding from Tibet too but they're focused on the dams China is building on Tibetan rivers. “If waters from them are released in a larger quantity, they may become floods and if we have no storage in the Indian portion, that may create havoc," the commission's chairman Ghanashyam Jha told the BBC. “We have an arrangement for sharing flood information but all the desired information is not available."
“The water resource department of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh that shares a border with Tibet has stressed the proper networking of co-basins for flood warnings. “The flash flood of Pasighat during 11 May 2000 is an example in which the loss of lives and properties could have been minimised had there been proper networking and sharing of information to the downstream county," it says on its website.
Chinese authorities in Beijing did not respond to our questions. Officials in Tibet, however, said flood information was being shared with India and Bangladesh. They said they would only do the same with Nepal if they received instructions from the Chinese ministry of water resources.
Towns in Nepal Devastated by Floods Originating in Tibet.
In July 2016, buildings in Nepalese towns bordering Tibet were swept away by a sudden flood that originated in Tibet. The BBC reported: Authorities in Nepal say it was the result of landslides in Tibet that dammed the Bhotekoshi river. This is one of several rivers that run through Nepal which originate in Tibet. Most houses in Liping, the main town bordering Tibet, have either been swept away by floodwaters or brought down because of soil erosion caused by the floods. [Source: Navin Singh Khadka Environment reporter, BBC World Service, September 8. 2016]
“In Barabise and other smaller settlements, the BBC saw several houses precariously perched on the edge and all set to collapse because of the flooding. This was one of the most affected areas during the 2015 earthquake. “That is where my house used to stand and now all you see is a cliff overlooking the river," said Nimji Sherpa, a shopkeeper. “That night I received a call from my relative upstream that a flood was hurtling towards us. I dragged my old husband to higher land." “The next morning we came back to see that our house and all that we had was gone. Last year the earthquake destroyed my house and we had come here to start afresh and now floods have taken everything," she said, with tears in her eyes. Further up, a stretch of the Arniko highway, that links Nepal to Tibet, is gone which has disrupted traffic. “The authorities have told us to move 100 metres higher at night to sleep because we don't know what is coming our way," said Nimji Sherpa. “How long can we live like this?"
“Officials in Sindhupalchok district said they were able to evacuate people during the July flash flood. “We were lucky that we could save people because of our own early warning system but timely information from the Tibet side could have helped us save properties as well," said Gokarna Dawadi, chief government official in the district, who recently left this role. “We have approached the Chinese side a number of times to discuss this issue as we fear future disasters but it has not moved anywhere."
“Officials in the Nepali capital Kathmandu said the Bhotekoshi disaster was an eye-opener. “So far we have no communication between China and Nepal regarding the early flood warning system," said Rishi Raj Sharma, director general of Nepal's department of hydrology and meteorology. “There has been some initial dialogue with the Chinese meteorology department but we need to raise this more seriously through our foreign ministry."
Image Sources: University of Washington, Xinhua, Environmental News
Text Sources: 1) “Encyclopedia of World Cultures: Russia and Eurasia/ China”, edited by Paul Friedrich and Norma Diamond (C.K.Hall & Company, 1994); 2) Liu Jun, Museum of Nationalities, Central University for Nationalities, Science of China, China virtual museums, Computer Network Information Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences, kepu.net.cn ~; 3) Ethnic China ethnic-china.com *\; 4) Chinatravel.com \=/; 5) China.org, the Chinese government news site china.org | New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Chinese government, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.
Last updated September 2022