By Aashish Mishra
Kathmandu, July 4: Landslides and floods continue to wreak havoc all across Nepal. Areas across the plains have been inundated by swollen rivers while hilly settlements face an increasing risk of landslides.
As per the update provided by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Authority (NDDRMA) for Saturday, four people lost their lives to monsoon-triggered calamities while nine people were injured.
Two people – 19-year-old Bir Bal Praja and 43-year-old Soni Devi Ai – died in Dhading when rocks fell on a truck numbered Na 8 Kha 4540 and a container truck numbered Na 7 Kha 320. Two people also died in Gorkha. Raman Pandey, 86, and his wife Nanda Kumari Pandey, 68, died after a landslide buried their house in Siranchowk Rural Municipality–7.
Meanwhile, our correspondent Narendra Dhakal reports that one more person died in Gorkha after being swept away by the flooded Phungi Khola River in Arughat Rural Municipality–3 on Saturday. According to the District Police Office, the deceased has been identified as 26-year-old Kiran Lama of Shyamchet, Arughat–1.
Similarly, landslides blocked the Bhedetar-Taplejung Road in Lumthajung, Sangurigadhi Rural
Municipality and the Gairi-Aghor Khanigaun section of the Triphuvan Highway while floods blocked traffic on the Dumre-Besishahar Road in Sahakale, Sundarbazar Municipality–7.
Belina Thapa, The Rising Nepal’s Lamjung correspondent, writes that the Middle Marsyangdi Hydropower Station has shut down due to flood. Chief Shiva Kumar Sah informed that floods swept away Tower No. 9 of the 132-kilovolt transmission line, cutting off power supply and forcing it to shut down.
Our correspondents from Rautahat Sanjay Kumar and Yadav Raj Puri write that swollen Bagmati, Lalbakaiya and Jhanj rivers have inundated the district of Rautahat.
It has been raining incessantly in Rautahat for the past three days, increasing the water level in the rivers. The Lalbakaiya River has broken its banks and entered nearby settlements, including the Gaur Market. It has also flooded Banjaraha and Auraiya of Ishnath Municipality and inundated the Rajpur-Gaur road.
Arun Kumar Sah, chairman of Durga Bhagwati Rural Municipality, said that Bagmati and Jhanj had flooded Bhalohiya, Pipra Badharwa, Pacharukhi and many other areas of the rural municipality.
The rains have still not let up and water level in the Bagmati River has reached 720 millilitres – well above the danger mark. That is why 30 gates of the Bagmati Irrigation Project have been opened, informed Chief District Officer (CDO) Indra Dev Yadav. The main gates of the eastern and western canals have not been opened though to prevent inundation of arable land, he said.
The water level in the Labakaiya River has also risen above five feet.
The Nepal Army, Armed Police Force and Nepal Police have been working to save the dykes on the Bagmati River from collapsing.
Yadav, who is also the chairman of the District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC), stated that security agencies were on standby to rescue people and provide relief to the flood victims.
As of Saturday, three houses have collapsed in Rautahat due to floods causing a total of Rs. 600,000 in damages. Main commercial centres Chandranigahpur, Garuda and Katahariya are under water and road access to the district has been cut off.
Similarly, according to the news sent in by our Rajbiraj correspondent Dhirendra Prasad Sah, the water in the Saptakoshi River reached its highest level this year on Saturday morning.
Measurements taken at 9 am on Saturday showed that the flow of water was 231,515 cusecs. Normally, the flow of water in the river is 50,000 to 70,000 cusecs.
CDO Jaynarayan Acharya, who is also the chairman of the DDMC of Saptari, informed that 28 out of 56 gates of Koshi Barrage had been opened to prevent flooding. The District Administration Office of Saptari has also urged people living along the banks of the Saptakoshi River to remain alert.
Our Saptari correspondent Deoram Prasad Yadav adds that more than 300 houses in half a dozen of local levels in Saptari district have been inundated by floods in Triyuga, Khadag, Saptakoshi and other rivers.
Meanwhile in Gorkha, flooding in Daraudi River has swept away nearly 13 metres of road on one end of the motorable bridge connecting Ajirkot Rural Municipality–4 with Barpak Sulikot Rural Municipality–4.
“The river changed its course and washed away the road attached to the bridge. No one can get across now,” said Chairman of Ajirkot–4 Jung Bahadur Gurung. “With no other alternative, people are using the rickety old suspension bridge which has not been maintained since the motorable bridge was built.”
Our Birtamod correspondent Lilaraj Jhapali reports that more than 1000 houses along various rivers in Jhapa are at risk of flooding. The Nepal Red Cross Society Jhapa has stated that 1,665 households in Kanakai Municipality, Jhapa Rural Municipality, Shivasatakshi Municipality and Gaurigunj Rural Municipality are at high risk of flood.
In Sindhuli, the Banka and Khar rivers have broken their banks and have flooded nearby houses. Similarly, continuous rainfall has put dozens of settlements in Kamalamai Municipality, Dudhauli Municipality, Marin Rural Municipality and Sunkoshi Rural Municipality at risk of landslides. Parts of BP Highway, Mid Hill Highway and Madan Bhandari Highway have been damaged by falling earth.
Fields submerged, crops destroyed
Sheikh Jamshed, chairman of Gaur Municipality ward no. 6, said that hundreds of acres of paddy fields had been submerged and crops destroyed by floods in Rautahat.
Our correspondent Amar Raj Naharki also writes that thousands of acres of paddy fields have been flooded in Tanahun, destroying hundreds of tonnes of crops.
Floods have destroyed paddy crop in about 1,200 ropanis of land in Dhorphirdi, Shuklagandaki Municipality–8. Likewise, 500 ropanis of farmland lie submerged in each Myagde Rural Municipality and Vyas Municipality.
Chief of the Agriculture Knowledge Centre of Tanahun Kul Prasad Tiwari said that more damage was caused this year than last year because the rains were heavier. He informed that floods and landslides destroyed crops in 13 hectares of land last year and caused a total loss of Rs 100 million. “This year is expected to be worse,” Tiwari said.
Over in Sindhuli, the Marin River has also eroded two bighas of cultivable land.
A total of 38 people have been killed by floods and landslides in the past three weeks, as per NDRRMA’s data. The Nepal Police Headquarters released a breakdown of the death toll on Saturday which shows that five people have died in Sindhupalchowk, four in Doti, three each in Rolpa and Gorkha, two each in Chitwan, Tanahun, Pyuthan and Rautahat and one each in Lalitpur, Khotang, Saptari, Kavre, Dhanding, Sindhuli, Jumla, Arghakhanchi, Dang, Palpa, Kaski, Kalikot, Panchthar, Bajhang and Baru from June 13 to July 3.
In the same period, 51 people have been injured by rain-induced disasters, according to the police.