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IMPACT OF CHANGE IN HKH REGION

November 27, 2017
Recent global change in climate due to global warming is impacting the people and the landscape in the Hindu-Kush Himalaya. The impact of change was very prominent and tangible in the form of recent eco-disaster of Kedarnath valley in June 2013. On 16 June 2013, at 5:15 p.m., the torrential rains (325mm rainfall in 24 hours) flooded the Saraswati River and Doodh Ganga catchment area, resulting in excessive flow across all the channels. Following this, very active erosion causing excessive water and sediment accumulation in the major rivers. As a result, large volumes of water struck the Kedarnath town which simultaneously picked huge amount of loose sediment en-route. The voluminous water loaded with massive amount of debris from the surrounding regions and glacial moraines moved towards the town, washing off the Shankaracharya samadhi, Jalnigam guest house and Bharat Seva Sangh Ashram and leading to the biggest ever devastation, we have seen in the Hindu Kush Himalaya. Due to heavy downpour, the town of Rambara was also completely washed away on 16 June evening.
The second event occurred on 17 June 2013 at 6:45 a.m., after overflow and collapse of the moraine dammed Chorabari glcier fed lake, which released large volume of water that caused another flash flood in the Kedarnath valley leading to heavy devastation downstream at Gaurikund, Sonprayag and Phata. Due to heavy rainfall, the right lateral basin of the glacier, which was thickly covered by snow more than two meter thick near the upper part of lake rapidly melted due to rain-water allowing large amount of water accumulation in the glacier fed lake. There were no outlets in the lake, the water was simply released through narrow passages at the bottom of the lake. Suddenly millions of gallons of water accumulated in the moraine dammed lake within 3 days, which increased their potential energy and reduced the shear strength of the moraine dam. Ultimately, the loose-moraine dam breached, causing an enormous devastation in the Kedarnath valley. The entire landscape of the Kedarnath valley has been changed demolishing 2,214 houses and killing more than 5,800 people. This event is an eye opener to the people, that the entire Hindu Kush Himalaya is under pressure and we have to make conserted efforts to save the HKH region from these global changes.
  • Beautiful landscape of Kedarnath valley before impact of change
    Uttarakhand India
  • Devastation impact of change in the landscape of Kedarnath Valley in June, 2013
    Uttarakhand India
  • Defaced the entire landscape of Kedarnath valley after Eco-disaster
    Uttarakhand India
  • Flash-flood has rolled down big boulders around Kedarnath temple
    Uttarakhand India
  • Demolished houses near Kedarnath temple
    Uttarakhand India
  • Humen loss impacted by the change
    Uttarakhand India
  • We have to make concerted efforts to save the Hindu Kush Himalaya
    Uttarakhand India