As many as 42 houses at high risk of landslide in Thulogaun, RolpaSeveral settlements in Rolpa Municipality are prone to landslides every monsoon but nothing has been done to prevent this yearly crisis, local people say.
As many as 500 people of 42 households in Thulogaun, Rolpa Municipality-10 of Lumbini Province are at high risk of landslides.
“The tightly clustered houses at Thulogaun are at risk of being buried by landslides. When it rains, the villagers run to safer places,” said Sher Bahadur Thapa, a ward member of Rolpa-10.
According to him, the mayor and the chief district officer have been informed about the risk of landslides in the settlement but the authorities are yet to respond.
A massive landslide had struck the village in June last year. The landmass below the settlement has developed several cracks since then.
“The landslide last year damaged roads, foot trails and a drinking water project and swept away several ropanis of cultivable land,” said Thapa. “The disaster left deep cracks in the land, making the whole village vulnerable to landslides.”
Several settlements in the Dhabang area of Rolpa Municipality-10 are prone to landslides every monsoon. The local people have complained that the authorities concerned have done little to control the landslides or relocate the settlements to safer locations.
“The Dhabang area is affected by landslides every monsoon,” said Man Bahadur Khatri, the ward chairman of Rolpa-10. “The villagers have to live with constant fear, as authorities have not taken initiatives to find a permanent solution to the crisis.”
According to the local people, as many as 147 families in Thulogaun were affected by last year’s landslide.
“Among them, 42 households are still at high risk,” said Khatri.
The local people say their plights have been ignored by the local unit, the district administration and the provincial and federal governments.
“The people’s representatives, municipal authorities and the district administration are well aware about what’s been happening here. But no one has come forward with help,” said Ramsur Pun, a resident of Dhabang.
Chief District Officer in Rolpa Nawaraj Sapkota said the District Administration Office has been informed about the threat of landslides in Dhabang.
“We have discussed with the security agencies and the representatives of the Disaster Management Committee to prepare for possible landslides,” he said. “We are also conducting a field study in Dhabang. Families at high risk of landslides can be shifted to local school buildings or in community buildings for safety.”
A massive landslide struck Dhabang in 2003, displacing more than 100 families. Four people were killed in the disaster while 60 houses and animal sheds were swept away.
“Every year during monsoon, our village gets prone to landslides. This year, wards 5 and 6 are the most vulnerable,” said Khatri, who is also the then chairman of Dhabang VDC.
During last year’s monsoon, dozens of villages in Rolpa Municipality Ward No. 8 were at high risk of landslides.
This year, many villages of Sunachhahari, Lungri, Madi and Tribeni rural municipalities are at risk of floods and landslides.
“The authorities feign concern for us only during the peak monsoon season. The rest of the year, they do not think about preparing for disaster management,” said Pun from Dhabang. “They prepare for relief distribution but never think about preventing disasters in the first place.”