Visitors and staff in peril as landslide threatens health postLandslides that started two years ago have swept away Tityang health post’s front yard.
A health post building in Tityang of Baglung Municipality-9 is at high risk of landslide. The health workers assigned to the health post are constantly worried about their safety while service seekers think twice before visiting the health post.
A landslide swept away Tityang Health Post’s front yard last year and since then the entire health post is under threat of being swallowed up. According to locals, the landslide that started two years ago has gradually devoured at least 50 ropani [around 2.5 hectares] of land in the area.
With the onset of monsoon season, the health post staff and the local people are much worried about their safety while working at or visiting the health facility. “The health post building is at high risk. The building was constructed in a paddy field where seasonal water springs emerge every monsoon and persist for several months. This water inundates the health post building during the monsoon season,” said Chandrabir Khadka, a local. “The water softens and loosens the health post land making it more vulnerable to landslides.”
Khadka believes that the authorities concerned did not conduct proper soil examination before deciding to construct the health post. “They constructed the health post in a risky area and now all of us have to suffer because of their decision,” he said.
The health post building was built three years ago. Just below the building runs a road connecting Tityang with Baundechaur through Sigana. A road widening project two years ago led to the eruption of the landslide, say locals.
Despite the locals’ concerns, the authorities are yet to take concrete steps towards fortifying the health post or moving it to a safer location. However, around Rs2 million was spent last year to control the landslide, according to Narayan Sharma, chief of Tityang Health Post.
“A retaining wall was constructed to protect the health post building immediately after the landslide two years ago. But there was another landslide,” said Raju Thapa, ward chairman of Baglung Municipality-9. “Last year some efforts were made to control the landslide but the risk continues.”
The health post building was constructed at the cost of Rs17.5 million and the site had no road access.
Jamuna Khatri, a local woman, says the construction of the road just below the health post was what made the land unstable, triggering landslides. “When the construction of the road was ongoing, we could feel our house vibrating strongly. They used heavy equipment like bulldozers to construct the road,” she said. “Also, the health post is built on a paddy field where there is water below the surface. During the wet season, the water level rises above the ground level which puts the health post at further risk.”
The ward office is around one kilometre to the east of the health post building.
“Efforts were made to construct the health post near the ward office. But we could not find land there,” said Sharma. According to him, a sustainable plan is in the pipeline to control the landslide in coordination with the local unit and other government authorities.
As per the existing legal provision, the health ministry releases a budget to construct a health post building only if the building occupies four ropani [1 ropani is 508.73 sq meters] of land. “It is quite difficult to find four ropani of land with road access and water supply in rural areas. For now, we plan to find an alternate solution to divert the water from the paddy field elsewhere and to control the landslide,” said Thapa.
Around 30 patients visit Tityang Health Post on a daily basis.