Flood-displaced families in Darchula local unit see no hope for resettlementFive individuals were killed, two others injured and several families displaced in the August 29 floods.
The settlements alongside Kalagad and Nijangad rivers in Duhu Rural Municipality were hit hard by floods in the rivers last week. Five individuals were killed, two others injured and several families displaced in the rural municipality.
At least 265 houses have been affected by flood-and landslide-related disasters in the rural municipality. Among them, 46 houses have been destroyed, 95 partially damaged and 111 houses are at high risk of floods and landslides.
Some of the displaced have sought shelter at their relatives’ homes while others have been staying at a temporary relief camp set up at a local school by the rural municipality. The victims, who have lost their houses and fields, say they see little hope of resettlement.
Bimala Parki, a resident of Dulla in Ward No. 5 of the rural municipality, has been living with her relatives after her house was swept away by the floodwaters of Kalagad river on August 29.
Her husband Janakram, who sustained injuries in the incident, has been receiving treatment at a Dhangadhi-based hospital.
Parki and her two daughters had been rescued by the locals from the incident site.
“Our house was swept away and we now have nowhere to go. We are taking shelter at our relatives’ house,” she said.
A week ago, Man Singh Sahu, a resident of Ward No. 2 of the rural municipality, also lost his house and land plots to the floodwaters of the Kalagad river. He has been staying at Gaurilmandau Secondary School in Hikila with his family and other victims of the disaster.
“Our harvest-ready crops were destroyed and our house was swept away by the floodwaters. We lost everything in the flood,” Sahu said.
On August 29, settlements in Nareli, Afarya, Dulla, Battholi, Simar, Ghopya, Nijanggad, Shreebagar, and Baspani in Duhu Rural Municipality were devastated by floods and landslides triggered by incessant rainfall.
Pulendra Bahadur Karki, chairman of Duhu Rural Municipality, said the local unit has managed food and accommodation for the displaced people who are taking refuge at a local school building.
“We are planning to move the temporary camp from the school to another location since the school plans to run in-person classes,” said Karki.
The floods and landslides of August 29 also swept away seven suspension bridges, five micro-hydropower projects, two bridges and a building of a child development centre. The area was disconnected from other parts of the district for over a week after floods and landslides swept away bridges and damaged roads and foot trails.
According to Karki, security personnel repaired roads and constructed wooden bridges in the affected area a few days ago to open communication lines.
The people’s representatives say it will take a few years for the rural municipality to recover from the loss of property and arable lands, which stands to affect the overall development of the local unit.
The actual damage caused by the August 29 floods and landslides is yet to be assessed. The district authorities visited the affected area for inspection on Saturday.
The local people have urged the visiting officials to come up with a plan for relief distribution, reconstruction of houses and resettlement of the affected people at the earliest.
Similarly, floods in the Nijangad river have also wreaked havoc in Mahakali Municipality Ward No 1. Floods in the river swept away two local residents, some shops, a motorable bridge along the Darchula-Tinkar road and two suspension bridges last week.
Meanwhile, the meeting of Duhu Rural Municipality held on Friday decided to provide Rs 50,000 to the families of each victim killed in the disasters and Rs 25,000 to those whose house has been destroyed by the floods and landslides.
According to Karki, the rural municipality has also decided to provide food supplies to the displaced families until arrangements are made for their resettlement.
Likewise, Mahakali Municipality has decided to provide Rs 100,000 each to families whose houses have been destroyed by floods; Rs 50,000 to repair each flood-ravaged water mill and Rs 10,000 each to partially damaged houses and shops.