Village in Nepal on brink of losing ancient monastery in hands of glacial lake floods

Nepal’s Halji village, best known for its 1000-year-old monastery, a potential World Heritage Site, is facing a huge threat from frequent glacial lake outpour floods, which mysteriously occur annually on the same day every summer since 2006.

This year proved no exception, and on June 30th, after a glacial lake burst in the mountains some 1,700 meters above Halji, a flash flood rushed through the village destroying buildings, farmlands and infrastructure.

The ground shook and the water was nearly black because of the landslides along the banks. People managed to evacuate in time and move most of their belongings, but had to watch as their homes and fields were carried away, reports Popular Archaeology.

According to Astrid Hovden, a PhD fellow at the University of Oslo, the recent floods are a result of glacial lakes rising to dangerous levels, an event caused by global warming. Although no lives were lost in this year’s flood, two houses were demolished and some poorer families lost all their land.

Hovden warns that future flooding could cause even more devastation, including to the 11th-century Rinchenling Monastery, one of the oldest in Nepal.

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