Floods, landslides affect life in several districts of SudurpaschimThe disaster has added to the distress of Bhajani residents who were already reeling under the devastation caused by July’s floodings.
After a hiatus of a few days, monsoon has gained momentum in parts of Sudurpaschim Province, prompting rain-induced disasters in the region since Sunday night.
Floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains since last night have displaced hundreds of families in Tarai districts and swept away bridges, houses and roads in hill districts.
Bhajani Municipality in Kailali district, which was slowly limping back to normalcy after the devastation caused by floods in the last week of July, got inundated on Monday as floods in Mohana, Kandhra and Pathariya rivers started entering its settlements. Around 500 families of various wards in the municipality have left their settlements fearing floods and inundation.
Laxmi Shah of Krishnanagar in Bhajani-8, along with his family, sought shelter on the Postal Highway on Monday. The Shah family had only returned to their house on Friday after living under a tarp on the highway for about 10 days.
"It started raining heavily on Sunday evening while we were repairing our house that got damaged in the floods of July. We again shifted to the highway, as the water level in the local rivers began to rise," said Shah.
Monday's floods have added to the distress of Bhajani residents who were already reeling under the devastation caused by July’s floodings. Bhajani Mayor Sher Bahadur Chaudhary said around 500 families at Ward No 3, 5, 7 and 8 have been displaced again due to fear of floods.
"Kandhra River might enter the settlements if it continues raining. The water level has risen in Mohana, Kanda and Pathariya rivers as well," said Chaudhary, adding that the local unit has been working to rescue stranded people and provide relief to the affected families.
Around 600 houses had been inundated in Bhajani, Joshipur, Janakinagar and Tikapur of Kailali district due to the floods of July 29. The settlements were again hit by floods on Monday, at a time when around 200 displaced families were preparing to return home. The displaced are back on the highway.
"The water level in the local rivers and streams is rising. The locals living near the banks of the rivers have started shifting to safer locations," said Ganga Chaudhary, a local of Bhajani-8.
Shivaraj Joshi, information officer at the District Administration Office in Kailali, said that the people's representatives of the local units have been instructed to stay on high alert and prepare for rescue and relief works.
"We have asked them to inform us if they need help for immediate rescue operations. We are on standby to help the rescue and relief efforts," said Joshi.
In Kailali, various settlements in Dhangadhi sub-metropolis have been waterlogged due to heavy rainfalls since Sunday night. The Buspark area, Bishalnaar, Chatakpur, Milanchowk, Motichowk, Hasanpur and Shivanagar, among other places, have been inundated. Floodwaters have also entered scores of houses in the freed Kamaiya (bonded labourer) settlement at Ward No. 12 of the sub-metropolis.
In Bajhang, transportation along the Jayaprithvi Highway has been obstructed, as the flooded Seti river washed away a 25-metre-long road section in Jalibagar. Hundreds of passengers have been stranded due to the transport disruption. The obstruction on the highway has disconnected Chainpur, the district headquarters, from the rest of the country.
"We are holding talks with the concerned authorities to open an alternate route to resume vehicular movement," said Chief District Officer Kamalraj Bhandari. “It could take a few days to resume transportation along the Jayaprithvi Highway.”
According to the Division Road Office in Baitadi, the body responsible for repairing damaged highway sections, the office has already started repairing the damaged road section along the highway.
"Efforts are on to repair the damaged road and resume transportation within a week," said Harish Joshi, an engineer at the office.
Similarly, the rise in water levels in the Seti River has put dozens of riverside settlements in Jaltadi, Bhopur and Subeda at high risk of flooding.
In Bajura, floodwaters from Budhiganga River entered settlements near the riverbanks on Sunday night, sweeping away houses and bridges.
One person has gone missing after the flood swept away a house at Ward No. 2 of Badimalika Municipality.
“The flood swept away a 65-year-old woman along with her house on Sunday night,” said Mayor Padam Bahadur Baduwal. “The flooded river swept away a bailey bridge at Jadanga as well.”
Krishna Gaire, the chief district office of Bajura, said that more than 50 houses and five suspension bridges have been damaged due to floods and landslides in several places of the district.
(Basanta Pratap Singh contributed reporting from Bajhang)