Nepal

Nepal: Floods and landslides heavily disrupted lives nationwide

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Situation Report
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Current Situation
During the past few weeks the onset of monsoon in Nepal has intensified causing widespread flooding and landslides. The flooding has been accompanied by severe landslides and river erosion. The monsoon was started on 10 June this year. But the heavy rain that started on 30 July has caused heavy floods and landslides with thunderbolt affecting almost all parts of the country. This latest increase in flooding and landslides has further aggravated the suffering of the thousands of people affected by this year monsoon. Up to now 53 districts out of 75, from east to west have been severely affected. Many villages and some cities also have been submerged. According to the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology the heavy monsoon rains from the 30th July to 2nd August were the highest recorded in the past three decades, exceeding the record of the last year. The floods and landslides have killed 244 persons and 310 injured. 44 persons are still reported missing. 9,063 families have been badly affected throughout the country. 1,288 houses are completely destroyed and 2071 partially. Thousands of people have been forced to live under open sky without any shelter. The actual data of the loss may be higher than the data quoted above since the data are still being collected, and again in many recently affected places, it has been difficult to reach and even get information because of the lack of transportation and communication facilities.

Increased incidence of diseases such as typhoid, dysentery and encephalitis has been reported in some of the floods and landslides affected areas such a Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Udaypur, Siraha, Mahottari, Rautahat, Makwanpur, Chitwan, Nawalparasi and Banke districts.

While in the flat area of Nepal, riverbank erosion and water logging leads to food insecurity for the majority of the affected, in the mountainous areas landslides and flash floods are causing high loss of life and destruction of properties.

The districts of Taplejung, Ilam, Tehrathum, Jhapa, Morang, Saptari, Udaypur, Okhaldhunga, Solukhumbu, Bhojpur, Sunsari, Khotang, Sarlahi, Dhanusha, Mahottari, Makwanpur, Siraha, Rautahat, Bara, Parsa, Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Kapilvastu, Rupandehi, Dang, Gorkha, Dhading, Dolakha, Sindhupalchowk, Kavre, Rasuwa, Nuwakot, Sindhuli, Myagdi, Baglung, Parvat, Tanahun, Lamjung, Kaski, Syangja, Gulmi, Humla, Rukum, Jajarkot, Pyuthan, Banke, Kailali, Kanchanpur and Baitadi are affected by massive floods and landslides.

Transportation and communication

Roads and highways in many parts of the country have also been damaged or wiped out. Major highways of the country have been damaged in many places and transportation was disrupted. The floods and landslides in many places have swept roads. The capital which was just been linked with the rest of the kingdom after a week long blockage has again gone disconnected due to the landslides of 17 and 18 August. Since the only two highways that link the Kathmandu valley with other parts of the country such as Prithvi and Tribhuwan highways have again been blocked. The only highway that links the country from east to west which had also been reopened after a week long blockage also has been blocked due to landslides and river erosion in some places. A flood in Jhahare khola (river) at Rajahar VDC in Nawalparasi district has eroded a 30 meter stretch of road obstructing transportation along the Narayanghat-Butwal section of the East-West Highway since last morning. Many other link roads have also been damaged. Immediate efforts are being undergone to reopen the highways in many places. The airway has remained the only means of transportation and which has access to only a few places in the country. Still in many remote places, patients are forced to live in their homes without any hospital treatment, praying the almighty since roads are damaged. A big loss also has been faced in physical infrastructures like electricity, water supply, irrigation and others.

Water and Sanitation

With the increase of floods and landslides water supply systems in many places have been damaged. Water supply in Hetauda municipality which had been damaged by the floods and landslides in Samari and Rapti rivers and there was no water supply for 2 weeks, has now been partially linked. Still people in Hetauda are making water supply bringing water in their bicycles, rickshaws and other vehicles fetching from local brooks for the additional supply. Water supply in Budhabare village of Jhapa that was damaged three weeks before has still not been managed. The drinking water in Butwal municipality has also been infected due to the flood in the Tinau river. Similarly the drinking water has been highly infected in Gaur municipality of Rautahat district. It has direct water fetching system from deep tube wells. Almost people get water supply from deep tube wells and open wells. And since the whole city submerged the scarcity was faced in the supply of drinking water. Almost all the water supply was polluted increasing the possibility of creeping disasters such as cholera, fever, typhoid etc. Water supply system in many places of Taplejung, Jhapa, Morang, Udaypur, Siraha, Rautahat, Makwanpur, Chitwan, Nawlparasi, Gorkha, Lamjung, Nuwakot, Rasuwa and many other places has been damaged due to incessant rain and floods.

Food Supply

Since the floods and landslides displaced thousand of people sweeping their houses and land in many places, food scarcity is reported in many places. Affected people are hardly survived with the local donations of food items. NRCS local district chapters have been collecting food items at local level and are providing to the affected people. Some local NGOs and clubs are also contributing for the immediate supply of food items for the affected people. As the disaster swept away standing crops in many places in a large scale it creates food scarcity in near future. Nepal Red Cross district chapters are providing food support to the affected people by collecting at local level. But it cannot fulfil the demand longer. With summer seasons in Nepal, many festivals begin to be celebrated. And without enough food supply for them affected people are compelled to live under misery.

Human Suffering

23 persons reported dead in Manakamana VDC:

23 persons lost their lives within a night on 30 July in a single village Manakamana of Gorkha district. The landslides occurred at midnight and the dead people had no way to escape away from their house. Within a few minutes all destruction took place that was never expected. Survived children Padamkumari and Bhagawati Tumsingh who lost their parents and two brothers are now facing big problem of their take care. They have become helpless and have only dark future without any guidance and care. Same is the condition of Narbahadur Thapa of Padke village who is survived alone losing his parents and brother and sister. Since he was out of his home the night of the destruction, he survived. He has lost everything including the farm from where his family used to earn livelihood. Dev Bahadur Ale, 65 years old man from the same village, has remained alone losing all 5 members of his family including his son, the only hope of his life. He is exhausted, fatigued and even hopeless. He laments the loss and hardly gets control over him. He is now in a need some helping hands so that he can survive in the rest of his life.

Landslide crushes army barrack in Rasuwa:

Altogether 15 security personnel of the Royal Nepal Army faced untimely demise in the landslide in Durga Box Gulma Ramche, Rasuwa on 15 August 2003. The passed Army personnel, including their chief at the barrack Major Mahendra Mahat, lost their lives when some parts of the barrack was swept away by the landslides at 8.00 pm. amid heavy rain. Other 3 are injured and are air lifted to the Army hospital, Kathmandu for treatment. It was all of a sudden mishap that the barrack had never expected. The landslide occurred in a very high mass from some 50 metres above of the barrack when a thunder struck the muddy hill. The Major quarter and other two buildings of the barrack were swept by the landslides within seconds.

Similarly 5 civilians, the community people were killed by the landslide, the same night in the adjoining village at Dhaibung VDC-7, some 5 kilometres below of the barrack. The landslide has also swept 5 houses away in the village. The Trisuli Rasuwa road that goes through the disaster place has been damaged in several places.

Amazing survival of an eight-years old girl:

An 8 years old girl survives in Nawalparasi district even being swept away by flood some eight hundred meters away from her home. The flood swept away their house in the midnight sweeping all 5 members of their family while they were sleeping. The girl could make some cry and local people managed to rescue her from the flood. She lost her mother and her one brother. Now she survives with her father who is also survived though being swept away by the flood that night. A local NGO has taken care of the girl and has made commitment for her education up to class ten (the secondary level education).

Surumkhim losses its seven people in a night:

Seven people, out of ten of the same family in Surumkhim village ward no. 8 of Taplejung district; the remote hilly district of the eastern Nepal lost their lives on 9 August 2003 because of the heavy landslides. The landslides had struck their home at midnight. Surya Bahadur Shrestha, the chief of the family lost his life with other six members including his two wives Jamuna and Tara. Jagat Shrestha of 28 years, the son of the passed Surya Bahadur survives with his eight years old daughter Bandana and four years son Tapin. Jagat's survived daughter and son were rescued from the landslides by their neighbours, almost half engulfed in the landslides. They were rescued having wounds as they were able to cry for help. And finally they were airlifted by the army helicopter, the next day to the B.P. Koirala Hospital, Dharan for their treatment. Jagat was survived without any loss since he was in another hut that night with his guest friend Bhim Limbu who also survived. The dead are Surya Bahadur Shrestha, his wives Jamuna and Tara, daughter in law Dhankumari (25), grand daughters: Manisha (5) and Juna (3) and little son Ramchandra (1.5). District Chief Office has taken care of the survived children. The landslides killed 10 cattle and the loss counts more than one million rupees.

Landslide claims 5 of a family:

A landslide at Bajh Kateri VDC-9 of Gulmi has killed five members of Shyam Lal Bhusal's family. The family was sleeping when the disaster struck at 11 pm on Monday (18 August 003). The deceased are Mina Bhusal, 31, Chameli Bhusal, 7, Kalika Bhusal, 5, Sabitra Bhusal, 3, and one-year old Deepa Bhusal. The landslide which occurred 50-metres above Bhusal's house swept the entire house away. The officials of District Administration Office, DDC, and Nepal Red Cross Society have left for the disaster site, Gulmi Red Cross said.

Families shelter in schools:

30 families are taking shelter in two schools in Handikhola of Makwanpur district. Their houses were swept away by the flooded Rapti river and are compelled to take shelter in schools since they have no other way out. They hardly managed to escape from their houses being swept away leaving all property inside. Now they are taking shelter in Gramjyoti and Madan Asrit schools. Local people have provided them with immediate food support. They are in a big problem since the river swept away all their lands.

Disaster threats the whole village:

Some 400 houses have been fallen under the threats of the diasaster: landslides in Diktel the district headquarter Khotang, one of the hilly districts in eastern part of the country. The landslide that is falling from Matikore of the top of the Diktel has created a big threat to all 400 houses including many government offices. Though the landslide was started some 9 years before and some preventive measures were being carried out but the intensity of the disaster has been increased in a big scale this year. And it may engulf the whole village if not prevented well. Some offices including a school have already been shifted from the place. But the only shifting can not be the solution for all 400 houses and it needs a big effort very promptly, for the prevention of the landslide. People can not sleep well in the night because of the fear of the landslide that may engulf their houses at any time.

Lives in risk:

Patheka village in Khotang has fallen under the threat of a big stone which is ready to fall over the village. The stone is so big that it may damage the whole village with 39 houses. If the stone falls down it will crush the village and brings very big landslides by which there will be no way out to rescue. So people of the village are escaping away by leaving their homes in the threats of the occurring disaster.

Nine villages inundated:

Since the monsoon of this year was very heavy, nine villages are inundated in Banke district, the terai district of mid-west because of the heavy water logging caused by the Laxmanpur dam constructed by India in the nearby place to control flood in India. Around seventy thousand people have been directly affected by the inundation. They have lost all their standing crops and are also facing many kinds of problem such as shelter, food scarcity and lack of purified drinking water.

40 houses submerged:

Even in Kathmandu, 40 houses were submerged in flood in Shwayambhu since the water logging appeared. The ground floors of the houses were submerged and people survived by shifting them onto upstairs. Some industrial loss was also faced since a carpet industry was also flooded in the area.

500 houses submerged:

Altogether 500 houses are reported submerged in different parts of Kailali district. 6, 7, 13 and 14 wards of Tikapur municipality have been inundated. Similarly almost parts of Durgauli, Patharaiya and Dhansinghpur VDCs are flooded. The connection road between Lamki and Tikapur has been blocked.

Flood kills two in capital:

Two bodies are found dead in two different places of Dhobi khola (small river) in Kathmandu. An unidentified dead body of 7/8 years-old boy was found in Dhobi khola at Maitidevi. Similarly a dead body of another unidentified woman aged 25/26 years was taken out from the same Dhobi khola, but she was found dead.

School collapsed in landslides:

Siddheswari Primary School building, having 4 rooms, the only school established just for Dalit, the so called untouchable caste in Salyan district has been swept away by the landslide. The school was hard heat by the landslide that occurred from some 70-metres above of the school. Now the students are compelled to pass time in their home since they have no reading place as their school.

Sleepless nights:

Local people in Nijgadh of Bara district are passing their nights sleepless, fearing the threat of the flooded Lal Bakaiya river that may engulf their village at any time if over flooded. The river is cutting the dam that protects the village from the flood and there is a very rare chance of the protection of the village by the dam if some immediate protection work not carried out. Some 30 thousand people will directly face the disaster if the dam is broken. The whole village will be inundated and the loss even inestimable. It may also erode some 300 metres of the Mahendra Highway that links East to West of the country.

Rapti river takes the life of a teacher:

The highly flooded Rapti river at Sannanitar of Handikhola VDC in Makwanpur district has taken the life of Mr. Laxman Parajuli, the local teacher of Navajyoti Primary School. He was trying to cross the flooded river going school from home. The dead body was found some 500 metres away from the place in the river bank. There is no bridge over the river and local people are compelled go through the river.

Avalanche displaces village people:

More than 24 families are displaced by the over flooded Madi river at Namarjun VDC in Kaski district. The river was over flooded when an avalanche erupted blasting the Kawache glacier lake that lies at the Parche village in Kaski. The avalanche resulted into the flood in the Madi river that has displaced 24 families of the riverside. The flood has swept away Padam Gurung's house including all five members of the family. The dead body of Kishan, a ten-year old son of Padam was recovered at some kilometres away from the place in the river bank. The whereabouts of the Padam, his daughter Santi, son Santosh, 14, and daughter Soni Gurung, 6, are still unknown.

Narayani inundates 500 houses:

The flooded Narayani river has inundated 500 houses in different VDCs in Nawalparasi district. The displaced people are taking shelter in local schools. The flood has also damaged standing crops in hundred of hectors.

The response so far:

NRCS Action: The Nepal Red Cross Society, as the leading relief agency in the nation has immediately started its relief service to the affected people mobilising local resources.

NRCS' district chapters concerned sent assessment teams with relief materials immediately to the affected areas and NRCS NHQs dispatched relief materials to regional warehouses concerned. Likewise, the respective district chapters have been mobilizing RC volunteers and staff for rescue, first-aid and other relief services. They are also preparing detailed survey reports. Concerned warehouses located at different strategic points have dispatched necessary packages of relief materials to affected district chapters. Most of the affected district chapters are distributing food items to the worst affected people collecting at local level with their own efforts. The details of distribution of food and non-food items are yet to be received. But the scenario given to the statistical data reveals the situation to some extent.

Government Action: Ministry of Home Affairs mobilized army and police personnel for rescue operation as well as the Government has assisted the disaster victims by distributing cash. Government sent rescue teams immediately to the floods and landslides affected areas. Government has formed a committee for the emergency management of the destroyed infrastructures, under the chairmanship of the Minister of Physical Planning and Housing.

Co-ordination: Nepal Red Cross Society has very good coordination with GOs, NGOs, INGOs, Foreign Embassies, the Federation as well as the ICRC and other sister societies. In Nepal, there is a Disaster Management Committee under the chairmanship of Minister of Home Affairs at central level. Similar committees are formed in each of 75 districts under the chairmanship of the Chief District Officers (CDO). Nepal Red Cross Society is nominated as a member in both the committees. A network of organizations that are involved in the field of disaster as well as development activities has been formed in 1998, which is known as "DP-Network". NRCS is the secretariat of that DP-network.

Problems/ Constraints:

The communication systems have been collapsed in some of the districts so it is very difficult to receive the detailed reports from District Chapters on time.

It is difficult to reach the affected areas on time due to the difficult geographical situation as well as the blockage of roads in several districts.

Conclusion:

Nepal Red Cross Society has 7 warehouses and 20 local depots in different strategic points. NRCS warehouses have been providing relief materials to concerned district chapters.

The district chapters concerned have been responding to the disaster victims from their internal resources and the supply dispatched from central, regional and zonal warehouses. NRCS warehouses have been making immediate supply of relief materials. NRCS NHQs has been providing assistance to the affected people through its district chapters and has also been making daily updates. It has been working in close coordination with GOs/NGOs/INGOs/Foreign Embassies. Due to the adverse geographical situation in some districts, it is quite difficult to receive the information in time. Presently, the Society has been supplying relief materials it has in its stock to cope with the existing situation of disaster. However, if the situation worsens, NRCS may appeal for external assistance.

Note: For district wise statistical data, if needed, of the disaster, please mail to disaster@ncs.org or info@nrcs.org