Even though this year’s flood was not as devastating as the one in 2008 when the Kosi breached its eastern embankment, destroying crops and homes and displacing 70,000 people in Nepal and 3 million in downstream Bihar in India, experts say the Kosi will constantly search for its previous riverbed in its inland delta after flowing down from the mountains.
The Kosi drains the south and north sides of Mt Everest and Makalu and has one of the highest sediment loads of any river in the world. A barrage built in 1956 by India in the border has become a part of the problem because the river is now flowing 3 meters higher than the surrounding land.
Last week’s embankment breach could be a warning for the future as the climate crisis makes the monsoon more erratic with intensifying periods of droughts and floods, and increases the danger of multiple glacial lake outbursts in the catchment areas of eastern Nepal.
Read more: Nepal’s mountains are melting, Alton C Byers