Devasting Flood in the Seti River

On 05 May 2012, a landslide near Machhapuchre Mountain in the Kaski District triggered a massive flash flood in the Seti River, sweeping settlements downstream with major damages occurring in Kharapani village in Sardikhola Village Development Committee (VDC) and Sadal village in Machhapuchre VDC. With flood heights reaching 30ft, the flood has killed 17 people, with at least 50 people missing, many of whom were having picnics along the river. In addition, the flood caused major damages to infrastructure and livelihoods, including damages to two suspension bridges, water supply systems to Pokhara and electric poles. Access to Annapurna Lower Secondary School has also been interrupted due to the flood.

According to officials, the flood was caused by a heavy build up of snow, ice and mud from an avalanche that was a result of heavy rains over 3 days. The avalanche created a temporary block that restricted the flow of water in the Seti. The water broke through this block, causing the flash flood that has devastated downstream areas.

It is expected that the number of missing people may rise dramatically as friends and relatives from neighbouring districts report to authorities additional victims. A rescue team consisting of District Disaster Rescue Committee (DDRC), members of Kaski district, Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Forces, Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS), District Lead Support Agency (DLSA), UN agencies and other partners have been heavily involved in the rescue efforts.

Immediately following the disaster, the DDRC was activated and the following decisions were made:

  • DDRC shall provide NRs 5,000 to each injured person for their immediate treatment for which District Development Committee (DDC) will provide cash support;
  • Searching of the missing people will be continued;
  • Five-member task force has been formed for damage assessment which comprises the representative from District Administrative Office (DAO), DDC, NRCS, Nepal Police, and District Technical Office (DTO);
  • Water Supply Sanitation Division Office shall take lead in reconstruction of water supply system damaged by the flood

In addition, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattari announced a relief program for families of the victims of the flood. Under this relief program, the government will provide Rs 25,000 as an emergency relief fund for those left homeless by the flood, while families of the deceased will receive Rs 125,000. Details on the affected population and the response will continue to emerge.