The floodwaters seem to have started right at the upper reaches of the rivers since some of the headworks of the Melamchi Water Supply Project were damaged by the rising waters. Eight workers at the Melamchi project, including three Chinese and three Indians and two Nepalis are said to be missing when the flash flood entered the project site.
Fortunately, the 26.5 km tunnel that brings water to Kathmandu Valley had been closed for testing a few days earlier.
Two highway bridges and three suspension footbridges on Melamchi road were destroyed. Several trout farms and paddy terraces were also washed away. In the Bazar itself, most of the damage could be seen in the new construction on the floodplain of the river.
Geographer Narendra Khanal says the Indrawati River appears to have been blocked by a landslide between 5-6pm on Tuesday evening. The water level monitoring station shows the flow at 4.7m decreasing suddenly to 3m, and then shooting up to 6m at 6:45pm.
“This is an indication that the river was blocked for about 45 minutes about 20km upstream in an area with major landslide after the 2015 earthquake, and suddenly the water burst through,” Khanal says. The Indrawati meets the Melamchi just above the Bazar, and the combined flow changed the course of the river, forcing it to disperse over its flood plain.