[Nepal] Flood Traces and Villagers’ Hope

On June 15, 2021, at around 8:00 p.m., in Melamchi district, one of PWJ target areas, was hit by a major flood. About 260 households were affected and 600 villagers were evacuated. Eighteen Nepalese, two Chinese, and one Indian were killed, and two Indians and one Chinese are still missing.

The river raised water to more than twice its width, and the waves rushed in with great force.

At that time, the villagers could only stand and stare in amazement at the traces of the flood.

The PWJ Japanese and Nepalese staffs visited the project site from 7th to 8th December. In the center of the photo is the collapsed bridge.

The pile of sand at the end of the bridge is a layer of sediment that was washed away by the flood. The black layer in middle is the original height of the ground. On the right side of the picture, you can see the windows of a house buried in the sand.

The villagers had built a temporary bridge with clay pipes next to the collapsed bridge. The bridge was not very wide, but without it, villagers would have had to take a detour to bring food and other supplies to the village on the other side of the river. The detour road was so bumpy that it was a challenge just to get through.

We crossed the bridge to the other side of the river and climbed up the mountain, worrying about the damage caused by the floods. But what we found there were the smiling faces and positive words of the villagers.

In our current project, farmers are learning how to grow seasonal vegetables in Melamchi, Sunkoshi, and Balefi districts. On this day, there was a training for seedling management of winter vegetables. During the training, we teach them the basics of sowing, irrigation management, seedling bed, and transplanting, which are necessary for seedling management.

A farmer who was participating in our training told us. “We took the technical training and grow tomatoes for the first time, but we couldn’t sell the vegetables to the market because of the flood. So we gave them away to our neighbors and relatives at a low price. From now on, I’ll try my best to sell more and more vegetables!”

“We’re going to plant potatoes now! Do you want to try plowing the field? It’s very hard work!” Said the women we met during our field visit. I took the hoe they were using and tried to plow the field, but the hoe was so heavy that my arm started to hurt. Compared to the hoes used in Japan, these hoes are much heavier and have a shorter handle, which puts a lot of strain on the back.

“Ha-ha-ha! It will take you months if you plow like that! Do it like this!” said the one of the ladies. They were petite women, but they carry the hoe easily like their own arms.

The lady farmer in the picture told us, “After I took the training and started growing tomatoes, my income increased by about 20,000 rupees (about 20,000 yen), and I was able to feed better to my children and buy clothes!”

The leader farmers are gradually gaining confidence by following the instructions on tomato pruning and growth management. It is hoped that other farmers will learn from their successes and further develop their farming activities in the community.

Next, we met a woman who was washing a lot of laundry.

“I have to bring all the laundry for my family of six up here to wash. I’m looking forward to having water tap in our house!” She said with a smile.

One of our project aims is to provide water supply from a source with safe water to each household in the village.

Peace Winds Japan, together with its local partner organization, Institution for Suitable Actions for Prosperity (ISAP), is continuing its project to enrich the lives of villagers in a mid-hill village in Sindhupalchowk district by improving access to safe water and supporting vegetable farming. The project is now ongoing for second year. Your support will also bring hope for the future to the villagers affected by Melamchi flood.

PWJ, as an organization working in this area, will continue to provide support for the development and stability.

This project is being implemented with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) through the Japan NGO Grant, individuals and corporations, and with the cooperation of the Nepalese government and local people. We look forward to your continued warm support.