A future Tso Rolpa GLOF would cost lives, property, infrastructure development projects including hydropower plants, livelihood, tourism and trade, forest, pastures and fisheries. ICIMOD estimates the tangible damage of a lake burst would range from $2-9 million depending on the duration, velocity and flooding level with almost 650,000 people up to 100km downstream affected.
However, people living along the Tama Kosi appear to be either oblivious or skeptical of the danger. Many think it is a hoax spread by the international community to mine precious stones. A hut next to the lake has a Maoist slogan that reads ‘End American Imperialism, Long Live the Nepal Maoist Party’.
“Ordinary citizens cannot understand why else the government and foreigners would spend almost $3 million dollars on future climate change when many villages in the region urgently need proper schools, health-post and roads,” explains Charikot resident Akal Man Maharjan.
Out of the 407 young undergraduate students from Dolakha and Kathmandu interviewed recently, more than one-third believe glacial flooding to be a hoax.