Floods and landslides wreak havoc across the countryRivers swollen by incessant rainfall in last two days have displaced hundreds of people.
Incessant rains since Monday have triggered floods and landslides in several districts of Gandaki, Bagmati, Lumbini and Sudurpaschim provinces. The water level in several rivers and rivulets has increased to alarming levels, putting many settlements at risk of floods and landslides.
Manang, a mountain district in Gandaki Province, has been hit hardest by water-induced disasters with more than 100 families displaced in several villages.
According to Chief District Officer of Manang Bishnu Lamichhane, 60 families have been displaced in Chame Bazaar, the district headquarters, 48 families in Taalgaun and five other families in a village across the Marsyangdi River.
“Five houses, including the postal office, were swept away by floods in the local stream in Chame on Tuesday. Five other houses were waterlogged,” said Lamichhane. According to him, around 300 people of 60 displaced families in Chame are taking shelter at the new building of the district prison.
“Forty-eight houses in Taalgaun were inundated by the floods in the Marsyangdi River. The displaced families are taking shelter in a nearby hillock. They are in need of food and tents but we haven’t been able to airlift the relief materials because of adverse weather conditions,” said Lamichhane.
Similarly, the flooded Timangkhola stream swept away a bailey bridge in Chame Rural Municipality-1 and damaged three other bridges. The flood also washed away a micro hydropower project and uprooted several utility poles in the area.
In Baglung, as many as 14 families have been displaced due to floods and landslides. According to Superintendent of Police Krishna Bahadur Magar, eight families in Badigad Rural Municipality-7 were displaced by landslides while floods swept away six houses in Kathekhola Rural Municipality-5.
Similarly, vehicular movement along most of the rural roads in the district has been disrupted. According to police, the Balewa section of the Kaligandaki Corridor and the Rankhani-Paiyuthandhap section and the Baglung Bazaar-Bihun section of the Mid-Hill Highway have been closed due to landslides and floods.
“Landslides have damaged the 25 km-long Baglung Bazaar-Bihun road at several places. Efforts are underway to clear the debris and resume transportation,” said SP Magar.
In Parbat, vehicular movement along the Parbat-Baglung section of the Mid-Hill Highway has been disrupted, as a massive landslide has blocked the road in Sashasradhara since Tuesday morning. “Other roads connecting to neighbouring Baglung, Myagdi and Mustang districts have also been disrupted. We are trying to clear the landslide debris,” said Police Inspector Pradip Paudel.
According to Paudel, the water level in the Kaligandaki and Modikhola, among other rivers and streams in the district, has surged due to continuous rains in the area since Monday.
In Gorkha, a 38-year-old man has gone missing after being swept away by the flooded Thotneri stream in Aarughat Rural Municipality-2 on Tuesday. Search is on to find the missing, said police.
Likewise in Tanahun, incessant rainfalls continue to feed the already swollen Madi, Seti and Marsyangdi rivers, among others, putting nearby settlements at high risk of flooding.
The District Administration Office has urged the people of riverside settlements to stay on high alert. “Rescue teams have been formed in all 10 local units of the district for possible emergencies. Security agencies are on standby,” said Chief District Officer of Tanahun Sagar Acharya.
In Rupandehi district of Lumbini, the residents of several riverside settlements in Sammarimai, Rohini, Marchawari, Mayadevi, Devdaha and Butwal have been living with the fear of possible inundation due to the incessant rainfall for the last two days.
“It’s paddy transplantation season but if the rainfall continues at the current rate, our paddy fields will be inundated,” said Om Prakash Yadav, a resident of Mayadevi Ward No. 6 in Rupandehi.
Rupendra Ligal from Butwal Ward No. 1, who lives near the Tinau river, says he has been watching the water level rise in the river since Tuesday. “There is a danger of flood waters entering our settlement. We have to stay alert”
The District Disaster Management Committee has been discussing plans to mitigate the effect of monsoon disasters, according to Chief District Officer of Rupandehi Asman Tamang.
In Bardiya, the water level in the Babai and Karnali rivers has also increased since Monday. The district authorities have requested the people living near rivers and streams to stay alert.
“The residents of settlements at risk of inundation have been asked to take help from the ward chairmen of the respected local units and also to contact the local administration if needed,” said Santa Bahadur Sunar, chief district officer of Bardiya.
On Tuesday, the water level in Babai was recorded at 3.5 metres from the river surface. The river will pose a threat if the water level crosses the five-metre mark, according to the District Disaster Management Committee. The water level in Karnali is six metres from the river surface, four metres less than its ten-metre danger level.
“If the rainfall continues for the next few days, the water levels of both Babai and Karnali will exceed the danger mark,” said Sunar.
In Nawalparasi (East), all 36 floodgates of the Gandak Barrage have been opened after the flow of water increased in the Narayani River on Tuesday evening. The barrage lies in Tribeni along the Nepal-India border point in Nawalparasi (East).
“All of the gates were opened after the water level in the river crossed the danger level,” said Tara Singh Thapa, an official at the barrage.
According to him, the barrage recorded the water flow at 280,000 cusecs per second at 4am on Tuesday. “Water flow over 267,200 cusecs in the barrage qualifies as a danger mark. That is why all of the doors were opened,” he said. “The settlements near the riverbank areas are at risk.”
The District Administration Office has requested the local people to stay on high alert after the Narayani River reported an increase in water level.
The floodwaters of Narayani and its tributaries have inundated 150 houses in Palhinandan, 260 houses in Sarawal and 530 houses in Susta rural municipalities of the district. Vehicular movement along various parts of the East-West Highway has also been affected due to the inundation.
“Landslides have occurred in five different places along the Daunne road section while another road section in the Ghui Khola area has caved in,” Deputy Superintendent of the District Police Office in Nawalparasi (East) Raju Lama told the Post.
Floodwaters of Rambhand, Bhulahi and Turiya streams have also eroded some farmlands, according to the District Administration Office in Nawalparasi (East). Chief District Officer Dharmendra Mishra said people living near rivers and streams are at risk.
In Sudurpaschim Province, vehicular movement along various road sections has come to a halt due to landslides. According to the Sudurpaschim Provincial Police Office, the Sanfe-Martadi road section, Dhangadhi-Dadeldhura road section, Khodpe-Bajhang road section and Baitdai-Dadeldhura road section have witnessed several landslides triggered by incessant rains.
“Dozers are being used to remove landslide debris from the road sections,” said Superintendent of Police at the Sudurpaschim Provincial Police Office Yogendra Thapa.
(With inputs from our correspondents in Gandaki, Lumbini and Sudurpaschim provinces.)