Nepal: Landslides and Floods - Information Bulletin n° 1

Situation Report
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This bulletin is being issued for further information as well as setting the basis for a DREF request to fund continued humanitarian assistance required in the coming days. It reflects the current situation, gaps and response operation required for the affected population. The Nepal Red Cross Society, with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has principally decided to make a DREF request as activities in support of the people affected by the disaster need to be scaled up considerably.

The situation

Heavy rain continued between 14 and 16 August 2014 causing massive floods and several landslides in 18 districts throughout the country. According to the Initial Rapid Assessment (IRA) reports received from districts to date, a total of 34,760 families (173,800 people) have been affected, of which 5,936 families (29,680 people) are displaced, 100 people are still missing, 53 people confirmed dead, and 30 people were injured. The number of casualties is likely to increase.

The floods and landslides have damaged infrastructure such as parts of roads connecting district headquarters to the affected village development committees (VDCs), bridges, culverts, local markets, transport vehicles as well as livestock, crops and daily consumables. A total of 1,677 houses were damaged (1,242 houses fully destroyed and 435 houses partially damaged) in the affected districts. The communication network and electricity supply are greatly restricted due to falling of electrical and telecommunication poles. Highways, linking Bankey to Bardia, Nepalgunj to Surkhet and Surkhet to neighboring districts, have been blocked due to landslides and floods. Further, floods have swept away five suspension bridges in Surkhet that caused challenges for local people for their daily movement as well as gaining access for first responders of government as well as NRCS in five VDCs. Drinking water supply systems have been disrupted in Surkhet valley. Similarly, hand pumps have been contaminated in southern plain area due to water inundation.

Following the disaster, the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) district chapters immediately deployed their trained volunteers to conduct rapid assessments and provide relief services to the affected people. However, their access to the affected areas has been restricted due to the inundation in the entire villages and destruction of roads. Also, volunteers have been facing problems in identifying and managing the temporary evacuation centers due to low availability of public places and safe places in comparison to the large number of displace people.

Government security personnel (Nepal army, armed police force and Nepal police) and NRCS volunteers evacuated affected families from high-risk areas to shelters in the schools and public places. Some families are still living in open places.

The rainfall is declining gradually since 17 August and water inundation has started to recede in some places. With the decline of rainfall, the water level in Babai, Rapti, Narayani and Koshi rivers have receded below the warning level. However the water level remained above the warning level in Karnali River of mid-western region, according to the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology.

NRCS has provided non-food relief items (NFRIs) to the displaced people in the Sindhupalchowk district. There is need of transitional shelter which the government is planning to meet. The situation in this area is being closely monitored as the water from the artificial dam has not drained out completely, and there is still risk of the dam collapsing which may cause flash floods to the downstream.

This is the second major disaster related to the ongoing monsoon season. In early August, massive landslides from the hillside in Jure, Mankhaa Village Development Committee of Sindhupalchowk district in Nepal killed 33 people with 123 people missing and declared dead by the government of Nepal. The landslide created a 2.5 kilometre long artificial lake that posed a severe risk for flash floods. An Information bulletin has been issued on 3 August to report on the situation and humanitarian actions for both Nepal and India. The floods and landslides during the ongoing season (since June) have resulted in 256 deaths and 185 people missing. The monsoon season is expected to last until September before moving into dryer weather by October.