Rainstorm leaves trail of devastation in its wakeFamilies across Parsa and Bara districts spent a long, hungry and cold night under an open sky after a severe rainstorm on Sunday destroyed most of their homes.
Families across Parsa and Bara districts spent a long, hungry and cold night under an open sky after a severe rainstorm on Sunday destroyed most of their homes.
The homes destroyed were made of mud and stone with thatched roofs, which blew away in the fierce winds that accompanied the storm. Most of the residents were sitting down for dinner when the storm struck at 7.15pm on Sunday evening, forcing them to abandon their meals and hurriedly seek shelter.
“We were just about to eat our dinner when the walls of our house were pelted with heavy rain and gusts of wind,” said Mahantha Ram, 62, of Chainpur in Parwanipur Rural Municipality. “There was a loud noise so I went out to check. A hot gust of wind enveloped me when I opened the door. And the next thing we knew, our roof was being torn apart and blown away.”
Around 300 homes were destroyed by the rainstorm in Parwanipur alone.
In Jagarnathpur, Birgunj Metropolis-22, Raj Kumar Patel, 33, told a similar story. “It lasted for only for a minute or two but it wreaked havoc. It was slow initially but gathered speed and force with every second,” said Patel, who spent a sleepless night with his six family members, expecting the worst.
At 60-year-old Phulman Khatun’s house, dinner was on the stove when the storm hit. “I was cooking when the storm hit. I had never seen anything like that,” she said. In Jagarnathpur, at least 100 houses were destroyed.
According to locals, the rainstorm first hit the Sukhchaina area of Chainpur in Parwanipur Rural Municipality-4 and moved to the south-east. The storm destroyed houses, uprooted electricity poles, and much of the infrastructure that lay on its 40 to 50 metre wide path as it moved towards Bhaluhi Bharwaliya and Pheta in neighbouring Bara district, locals said. The rainstorm travelled around 18 kilometres from western Parsa to eastern Bara district.
Manati Devi, 35, of Bhaluhi Bharwaliya, said that she was in her home when the rainstorm blew away the roof of her house. “All of my eight family members sustained injuries,” said Manati Devi. “However, at least all of us are alive.”
Similarly, Mahes Ram, 61, also of Bhaluhi Bharwaliya, reported hearing a loud noise, “like a bulldozer” before the roof of his home blew away. Mahes sustained severe injuries to his head when the walls of his house collapsed on him.
Others who were outside sought shelter in their homes but many didn’t survive the storm. Fejul Haque Miya, 55, lost his wife and daughter-in-law in the storm. “I could do nothing to save them,” he said. “We didn’t have time to take shelter from the storm. I had never experienced such destruction in my life.”
Ijahar Miya, 62, of Puraniya in Pheta Rural Municipality, Bara, also sought shelter in his home with his family of four. “Our house is completely destroyed and we could salvage nothing, but we are alive and that’s what matters. Some of the villagers weren’t as lucky as us,” said Ijahar.