Melamchi floods leave Helambu residents in hardshipSeveral settlements in Helambu have been cut off from the rest of the district after the floods swept away roads.
The residents of Helambu Rural Municipality-1 in Sindhupalchok have been deprived of electricity, road connectivity and means of communication since June 15, when the flooded Melamchi river swept away around six kilometres of road in Kiul and disconnected several settlements in the local unit from the rest of the district.
“The flooded Melamchi river swept away the lower Timbu bazaar area,” said Jangmi Lamini, 65, of Timbu in Helambu Rural Municipality-1. “The upper Timbu area is also at risk of flooding. We are having sleepless nights every time it rains.”
According to the District Police Office in Sindhupalchok, 14 individuals of Helambu Rural Municipality went missing in the Melamchi floods of June 15. Of them, only one body has been retrieved so far.
Until now, 20 individuals, including some employees of the Melamchi Drinking Water Project, have gone missing in the river, police said. Around 600 people in Melamchi and 300 in Helambu have been affected by the flooding, according to the District Administration Office in Sindhupalchok.
According to the District Police Office, the raging river had swept away eight resorts, two motorable bridges and six suspension bridges from Helambu to Melamchi Bazaar. More than 150 houses were inundated, displacing hundreds of people who are taking shelter in makeshift tents.
The settlements of Timbu, Halde Kharchung, Doring, Chiurekharka, Melamchighyang, Ghyangul, Tarkeghyang, Sarkathali, Shremathang, and Palchok of Helambu Rural Municipality have been cut off from the rest of the district. This has greatly affected the lives of all residents, locals say.
“Our situation has worsened now. There’s no shop to purchase food grains from. If any of us gets ill or bear labour pain, there’s no other option than to charter a helicopter,” said Pemadorje Hyalmo, a resident of Halde.
Due to the road disruption, Helambu residents have to walk the whole day using an alternative route to reach Melamchi bazaar to purchase food grains and daily essentials.
“We have to walk through forest areas and wade across the Melamchi river to reach Melamchi bazaar,” said Hyalmo. “Our settlement has been disconnected from the rest of the district for months now. When will the damaged roads be repaired?”
A tuin, an improvised cable crossing, has been recently installed across the Chokpu stream after the floods swept away the bridge. But local residents say tuin crossings are not feasible for every one and have demanded the authorities concerned to repair the damaged infrastructure at the earliest.
Meanwhile, ward member of Helambu-2 Bhabanath Jyoti claims that efforts are underway to repair all the roads, bridges and houses damaged by the Melamchi floods.