Nepal: Koshi Flood - OCHA Saptari Situation Report, 02 Oct 2008

Key Developments

- Relief efforts slowed by Strike and upcoming 'Dashain' festival

- Government distributes money for festival to flood affected families

- Government registration is completed, but actual number in need of assistance remains an issue

- Growing concerns over WASH gaps (Toilets ) in Spur areas

- Suspected measles case reported

- Host communities restive, demands assistance

CONTEXT

More than a month after the breach of Koshi River eastern embankment on 18 August the East West highway still remains closed. Many displaced families are living along the embankment wall and in neighbouring VDCs of Saptari district (particularly Bhardah and Hanumanagar VDCs) that was not flooded. Water level in some of the affected villages have receded, but not to sufficient levels to enable sustainable return.

Registration and Affected Population:

According to the latest registration done by the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) volunteers and the District Administration Office (DAO), 20,284 individuals of Nepali origin representing 4,186 families have been displaced. An estimated 1900 families of Indian origin are also getting assistance. Data entry for the registration was done by students from St. Xaviers College and the District Electoral Office.

The displaced people are spread in 25 camps located along the East -West highway as well as the Spur areas located in the east of Koshi Barrage, Sunsari District, but accessible only from Saptari District. Humanitarian assistance is reaching out to these groups, but the number of the affected population who are living in host families and who might equally need assistance is unknown. Request for assistance, some laced with threat of violence are already being received from host populations as well as people from fishing communities who lost livelihood opportunities due to the river changing its course but are not displaced.

There is evidence that many people have succeeded in registering more than once and other needy cases missed out. The registration data requires verification and therefore actors with the relevant expertise need to jointly work with the government in the verification process.

Access/ Security Constraints

Strike/Bandh called by Madhesi Mukti Tiger (MMT) and Janamorcha Nepal hampered the relief distribution from 27-29 September. Because of the three day bandh, hiring of private vehicles to transport humanitarian actors as well as consignments was suspended. A vehicle rented by the District Public Health Officer DPHO to transport health workers was set ablaze in Bhardaha area of Saptari district on the evening of 28 September. OXFAM could not move to the camps and likewise, growth monitoring of UNICEF/CONCERN worldwide in the IDP camps was affected. WFP's food supply from the western part of the country was equally affected. However, WFP is providing food to those IDPs and district administration office has assured enough security to those food carrying convoys.

A group of people tried to vandalize Oxfam and MSF vehicles parked outside the Star Hotel in Rajbiraj (which is also Oxfam's field office). Local authorities and the police reported that these are ordinary criminals whose activities scale up around Dashain and promised to step up security.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
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