Landslide sweeps away 19 houses in Lamjung local unitNo human casualties were reported in the disaster, as the villagers were moved to a safer location the previous night.
Deb Bahadur Sarki from Tarapu Pallotari in Lamjung had already sensed the possible threat of landslides, as the area had been experiencing incessant rainfall for the last few days. He had warned the villagers of the impending disaster but no one paid attention to him, he says.
On Tuesday morning, Sarki’s prediction came true when a landslide erupted from the hill above the settlement. He immediately took his family to a relative’s house, away from the settlement. The next morning, he woke up to the news of his house being partially damaged by a landslide and the villagers fleeing from the settlement the previous night.
“I went back on Wednesday to salvage my belongings but I didn’t stay long since the landslide debris was still rolling down from the hill above,” said Sarki. “I’m relieved that all the villagers are safe, although most of the houses were swept away.”
Wednesday's landslide swept away 19 houses in Tarapu Pallotari at Ward No. 3 of Marsyangdi Rural Municipality. No human casualties were reported, as the villagers had moved to a safer location the night before. Ward Chairman Prem Bahadur Basnet had directed the villagers to evacuate their settlement and had them moved to a local community school away from the impending landslide’s pathway.
“A minor landslide on Tuesday had already damaged four houses in the village so it would’ve been unwise to let the villagers stay back,” he said. “They didn’t want to leave. We had to force the villagers to leave the settlement on Tuesday..”
“We knew our settlement was prone to landslides since it’s nestled at the foot of a hill but we didn’t want to leave our homes for something that hadn’t happened yet,” said Srijana Gotame, one of the villagers who is currently taking shelter at Dhansehwor Basic School. “The ward chairman asked us to vacate. The landslide took away our property but we are all alive. That’s all that matters.”
Only a few of the locals managed to salvage food grains, clothes, beddings and other belongings from their damaged houses. A majority of them lost everything they owned to Wednesday’s landslide.
The landslide that erupted some 500 metres above the settlement of 80 houses swept away 19 houses and damaged many others; the remaining houses are at high risk.
“All 80 families have been shifted to safer locations. Some are staying at the school, some in community buildings, in tents and some are at their relatives’ houses. We have provided them with immediate reliefs with the help of various government and non-governmental organisations,” said Arjun Gurung, the chairman of the local unit.
The settlement is largely populated by impoverished Dalit families.
Meanwhile, Deputy Superintendent of Police Ganga Bahadur Thapa said eight people sustained injuries in a stampede during Wednesday’s landslide.
“They are receiving treatment in Lamjung Community Hospital and Khudi Health Post,” said Thapa. According to him, 10 domestic animals were killed in Tuesday's landslide but there were no casualties in Wednesday's incident, as the villagers had already moved all their livestock to a safer location.
In Syangja, a woman died while her daughter sustained injuries when a landslide buried their house at Gaunswara in Galyang Municipality on Wednesday morning. The locals retrieved the body of the deceased from the incident site the same day. The injured is receiving treatment at a hospital in Pokhara.
(Pratiksha Kafle contributed reporting from Syangja)