Nepal drains dangerous Everest lake


Nepal drains dangerous Everest lake
Nepal's army says it has finished draining a dangerous glacial lake near Mount Everest to a safe level.

The Imja glacial lake, at nearly 5,000m (16,400ft) high, was in danger of flooding downstream settlements, trekking trails and bridges.

The lake, which was originally 149m deep in places, has had its water levels lowered by 3.4m after months of pain-staking work, officials say.

Imja is one of thousands of glacial lakes in the Himalayas.

Many of the lakes are said to be filling up fast because of accelerated melting of glaciers amid rising global temperatures.


Last year's earthquake in Nepal is also feared to have further destabilised Lake Imja.

Nepal drains dangerous Everest lake

The military said the project to make it safe was the highest drainage project of its kind, with army personnel and Sherpas working for six months to construct an outlet to gradually release the water.

After the outlet was constructed, nearly 4m cubic metres of water was released - in a process that took two months.

Nepal drains dangerous Everest lake

Top Khatri, the project's manager with the department of hydrology and meteorology, told the BBC the process would now be applied to other lakes.

"It was a pilot project that we completed without any unfortunate incident and now this model will be replicated to reduce risks in other glacial lakes as well," Mr Khatri said.

Nepal drains dangerous Everest lake

The project was also challenging because of the heavy snow and the dangers of working at high altitude.

Officials said teams could only work safely for a few hours each day.

"We suffered from some level of stress and fatigue as we were working at this high altitude and extreme location," Lt-Col Bharat Shrestha, who headed the army team, told the BBC from the Everest region.

"In the beginning, a few people had to be evacuated as they suffered from high altitude sickness but gradually we all acclimatised ourselves to this place."

The draining of the lake is a part of a UN project to help Nepal deal with the impact of climate change. The UN provided nearly $3m in funding to lower the lake's water levels.

Early warning systems have also been installed for communities downstream.

Nepal drains dangerous Everest lake

However, many local Sherpas feel too much attention has been given to Imja, with alarmist media reports panicking locals, while the risks posted by other glacial lakes are ignored by officials.

"We live in fear that we might be surprisingly hit by floods from glacial lakes that are becoming dangerous but have not received any attention," said Nimji Sherpa, a leader in Thamo village.

Glacial lakes have broken their banks in Nepal more than 20 times since the early 1960s. Three of those incidents have been in and around the Everest region.



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
Londoners respond to terror attack in Westminster with solidarity

Londoners respond to terror attack in Westminster with solidarity..

23-Mar, 09:50

Londoners have paid tribute to the victims of the attack The Mayor of...

'Bed-blocking' statistics reveal areas worst affected.

'Bed-blocking' statistics reveal areas worst affected...

23-Mar, 02:08

More than 2,500 hospital beds a day are taken up by patients whose...

Wave of Anti-Semitic Threats Puts US Jewish Community on Edge 

Wave of Anti-Semitic Threats Puts US Jewish Community on Edge ..

23-Mar, 06:00

A Trump supporter named Bob, who declined to give his last name,...

Lena Dunham responds to weight loss criticism

Lena Dunham responds to weight loss criticism..

23-Mar, 01:36

She continued: "Then I had this experience of my body changing and...

Weekly claims for US unemployment benefits rise to 244,000 but still at low level

Weekly claims for US unemployment benefits rise to 244,000 but still at low level..

23-Feb, 08:38

Weekly claims for US unemployment benefits rise to 244,000 but still at...

US Business Spending Rises for 3rd Month, Boosting Factories

US Business Spending Rises for 3rd Month, Boosting Factories..

27-Jan, 08:50

U.S. businesses ramped up their investment in industrial machinery,...

Ex-pharmacy exec convicted in deadly meningitis outbreak

Ex-pharmacy exec convicted in deadly meningitis outbreak..

22-Mar, 12:56

The former head of a Massachusetts pharmacy was convicted Wednesday of...

Singderella Episode 17

Singderella Episode 17..

10-Mar, 22:14

The following Singderella Episode 17 English Sub has been released. Full...