At least 14 dead, 41 missing in flood and landslide in BaglungThe disaster occurred in Dhorpatan Municipality on Wednesday midnight when Bhuji river blocked by landslide debris flooded the settlements along the river banks.
Nim Bahadur BK, a resident of Lankuribot in Dhorpatan Municipality Ward No. 9, Baglung district, woke up to find his house shaking on Wednesday midnight. The 45-year-old woke his wife and three children up and rushed outside just before the floodwaters from Bhuji River swept his house away.
“We spent the night under the open sky in the pouring rain,” said BK.
Fourteen people died while at least 41 others went missing in Wednesday night's flood and landslide in Dhorpatan Municipality.
“Three individuals have been injured in the disaster and are currently receiving treatment at Burtibang Health Post,” said Inspector Prakash Singh Bhandari of the Area Police Office in Burtibang.
“The bodies of 14 individuals were recovered from the landslide site and by the banks of Bhuji River by late Thursday evening,” said Chief District Officer Suresh Neupane. “The identities of two of the deceased have been established so far.”
According to Yam Bahadur Kayat, principal at Gyanodaya Secondary School in Dhortapan, a landslide triggered by heavy rainfall had occurred at Deurali along the Dhorpatan-Saljhandi road section on Wednesday night.
“The landslide debris led to a dam formation, blocking the flow of Bhuji River. The dam burst and the flooded river entered the settlements,” Kayat said.
The incident site is some 130km west of Baglung district headquarters.
A preliminary report on the incident says the flooded river swept away at least 40 houses downstream in Wards 7, 8 and 9 of Dhorpatan Municipality.
According to Neupane, the flood also swept away large swathes of cultivable land in the municipality.
Security personnel with the help of locals carried out search and rescue works on Thursday.
“The search for the missing individuals is still on,” said Inspector Bhandari.
But conducting rescue operations has been difficult given the incessant rainfall the area has been witnessing for the past few days.
“We were informed about the incident on Wednesday night but could start rescue operations only in the morning when the rain had turned into a slight drizzle,” said Neupane.
Vehicular movement along the Dhorpatan-Saljhandi road section had been affected since the beginning of the monsoon season but the recent disaster has brought movement along the road section to a complete halt.
“The disaster has caused massive damage to various road sections, hydropower projects, health posts and drinking water spouts in the area,” said Dhan Prasad Pokharel, chief administrative officer at Dhorpatan Municipality.
However, locals say that there were fewer casualties, as most of the houses along the Bhuji river banks were unoccupied when the disaster struck.
“Most of the villagers had gone to the upper regions with their cattle when the monsoons arrived. The casualties might have been higher if all the villagers had been home on Wednesday night,” said Fulmaya Pun, a local who survived the incident.
Dhorpatan Municipality Mayor Devkumar Nepali said that the municipal office is making arrangements to provide relief to the victims of the disaster.
“We will move the villagers to a safe location and make arrangements for their food and shelter,” Nepali said. “We will also assess the destruction caused by Wednesday’s flood and landslide and will plan on the long-term relocation of the victims to safer areas.”
The story has been updated.