Salyan unprepared to tackle monsoon disastersAround 500 families in the district are vulnerable to monsoon-related disasters this year, authorities say.
Bir Singh Dangi, a resident of Bagchaur-12 in Salyan, lost his house to a landslide in July last year.
“I somehow managed to escape. I have built a new house but I don’t feel safe in it,” he said. “I get restless when it begins to rain.”
Dangi’s was one of the two houses in Ward No. 12 that were swept by a landslide on July 18 last year. The landslide displaced 75 families in the ward.
This year too, the settlements are at risk of being displaced by floods and landslides. Although monsoon-induced disasters are a yearly occurrence in Salyan, a hill district in Karnali Province, the authorities have failed to ensure people’s safety and prepare in advance for such disasters.
Dipak Oli, chairman of Ward No. 12, says his office lacks the budget to adopt disaster preparedness plans at the local level.
“We could not work to control landslides in the area due to a lack of sufficient budget. We asked the federal and provincial governments to help us move vulnerable families to safer locations but no help was forthcoming,” said Oli.
Six settlements in the Baphukhola area in Ward No. 12 are at risk of landslides this year, said Oli.
Around three dozen settlements across the district are at high risk of floods and landslides. Rain-swollen rivers and streams have started eroding river banks, threatening to break the embankments.
According to the District Natural Disaster Management Committee in Salyan, Ghuiyabari, Marmaparnikada, Kapurkot bazaar, Singbang, Jhimpe, Okahreni, Damdawali, Hattidamar, Rampur, Manghe, Dovan, Gailibazaar, Patare and Chaklighat among other areas are at high risk of floods and landslides.
The data of the committee states that around 500 families are vulnerable to monsoon-related disasters this year.
In Kapurkot, another local unit in the district, the threat of landslides has increased over the years. Kapurkot Bazaar, a major trade centre in the district, still suffers from a landslide that first broke out a decade ago.
Chandra Prakash Budha, a resident of Kapurkot Bazaar, said the landslide gets active every monsoon, causing fears among the local people.
“The rural roads are also sinking at several places due to movement of heavy vehicles on roads already weakened by landslides,” said Budha. “We do not stay in our houses at night fearing landslides.”
Bhim Bahadur Sen, the chairman of Kapurkot Rural Municipality, said that six families have been displaced while around 100 families have been affected due to landslides in the local unit this year.
“Efforts to control landslides and floods in Salyan have been ineffective so far. But we have formed natural disaster management committees in each local unit to ensure better results in mitigating the risk of natural disasters,” Chief District Officer Laxmi Devi Humagain who is also the coordinator of the District Natural Disaster Management Committee.