Normally, the beginning of the monsoon would be considered less destructive than the middle or end. However, the phenomenon has evolved. Over the last few years, floods have wreaked havoc throughout Nepal. This year’s monsoon brought massive flooding to Melamchi and Manag districts, killing dozens of people and destroying property and infrastructure on a massive scale.
After heavy monsoon rains in Nepal triggered floods and landslides in Manag and Melamchi districts of Sindhupalchwok, five people were killed and 19 others were reported missing, as well as the destruction of infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
Flash floods in Manang and Sindhupalchok have killed at least 16 people and left 22 others missing. Heavy rains have lashed the Himalayan region since Sunday, as the Monsoon season has arrived in full force.
The flood of the Melamchi river damaged headworks, washed-out roads, bridges, and site offices and equipment, but a recently completed 27-kilometer-long tunnel survived by chance.
“We have yet to receive a report on the structural and property damage. The government is now concentrating its efforts on search and rescue operations as well as the distribution of relief supplies to those in need. Since June 19, we have recorded 21 fatalities, 22 missing persons reports, and 11 cases of injuries in landslide and flooding incidents across the country,” said Janakraj Dahal, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Home Affairs.
According to the ministry, the worst-affected districts have been Lamjung, Myagdi, Mustang, Manang, Palpa, Kalikot, Jumla, Dailekh, Bajura, and Bajhang, as well as Sindhupalchok.
Damage to lives and structures has been reported in the districts of Sindhupalchok and Manang. Another hilly district of Dolakha, 25, issued a release warning residents of a possible flash flood along the Tamakoshi River.
“Landslide after heavy rain at Rongxia city of Tingri Country in Nepal-China border point has blocked the flow of the river and it is likely to witness a flash flood in Tamakoshi River at any time,” said the District Administration Office (DAO) of Dolakha.
The DAO has also urged residents along the Tamakoshi riverbank and the Nepal-China border area to remain vigilant and seek higher ground.
Landslides and Floods
Every year during the monsoon, hundreds of people are killed by landslides and floods in Nepal. Previously, Nepalese and other South Asian meteorologists predicted that the monsoon for 2021 would arrive earlier than last year, and that Nepal and some other Asian countries would receive normal to above-normal rainfall.
According to the Meteorological Forecasting Division, the monsoon has already arrived in Nepal and will last for about three months.
As of early June 29th, 20 people had died, 25 were missing, and 50 had been injured in Nepal as a result of floods, landslides, and heavy rainfall. At least 250 houses have been completely destroyed, with dozens more damaged.
The worst of the flooding occurred in Helambu, Sindhupalchowk District, where 7 people were killed, 6 were injured, and 15 were reported missing. Flooding occurred on June 15, 2021. Damage assessments are still being carried out.
Other fatalities were reported in Ribdikot, Palpa District, following a landslide on June 15; Machhapuchhre, Kaski District, following flooding on the same day; and Kisingh, Doti District, following a landslide on June 16.
Following floods on June 17, people were reported missing in Chhatradev, Arghakhanchi District; Aarughat, Gorkha District; Mallarani, Pyuthan District; and Temal, Kavrepalanchowk District.
Flooding and heavy rainfall destroyed homes in Galyang, Shyanja District (8 houses destroyed), Madi, Kaski District (13 houses destroyed), and Mandavi, Pyuthan District (4).
Heavy rain continues to fall in some areas. Ambapur, Dang Deukhuri District, received 106.6 mm of rain in 24 hours from June 17 to June 17, 2021. During the same time period, Kanyam in Ilam District recorded 61.6 mm and Rikhu in Dolakha District recorded 61.4 mm.
On June 15, river levels had risen above the danger mark in two locations. Since then, levels appear to be decreasing across the country. The Raughat Khola river in Myagdi district was above the warning (second highest) level as of June 17.
According to Nepal Police spokesperson and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Basanta Bahadur Kunwar, 102 people have been rescued, with 94 from Sindhupalchowk and eight from Salyan. They were transported to various hospitals for treatment.
Security forces have reopened roads that were closed due to landslides and floods in various locations. According to highway blockade information issued by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Authority, work is underway to remove landslides in Darchula, Humla, Surkhet, Kalikot, Salyan, and Dailekh.
199 houses have been inundated as a result of the floods so far. Similarly, 138 houses, 11 cowsheds, 12 bridges, one school, and seven government offices were destroyed. There have been 1,760 people displaced from 528 households, and 516 livestock have died. Due to floods and landslides, the area police office in Sindhupalchowk has been relocated to Helambu, and the police post has been relocated to Talamarang.
According to Bedh Nidhi Khanal, the NDRRMA’s assistant spokesperson, a joint squad of Nepal Police, Nepali Army, and Armed Police Force officers is actively involved in the rescue and mitigation of damage in the affected areas.
In addition, the rescue team is working with various agencies and local representatives to relocate families at risk of flooding and landslides to safer locations.
Relief and Rescue
As with all natural disasters, the Nepal Army is leading the rescue and relief mission, with support from the Nepal Army, Armed Police, and district administration. They were also welcomed by the locals.
The Nepal Army, as it does in all major disasters, rescued dozens of people in Sindhupalchwok and Manang. The Nepal Army used helicopters to rescue people from flooded homes.
With extensive experience in disaster management, the Nepal Army remains a frontline force in launching the country’s rescue and relief operations.
According to NDRRMA Chief Executive Officer Anil Pokhrel, the government is now focusing on relief distribution and proper rehabilitation of those displaced by the monsoon-induced disaster.
“The government (Ministry of Home Affairs) has directed that relief be distributed to flood and landslide victims, as well as other affected families, through a one-door system. The Ministry has given written and verbal instructions to district administration offices to only distribute relief materials at the local level,” CEO Pokhrel said.
According to him, the Ministry has directed that a family of up to five members receive Rs. 15,000 immediately, and those with more than five members receive Rs. 20,000 immediately, if they have lost their homes and are displaced.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, there is currently Rs. 999.1 million in the disaster management fund of all 77 districts for relief management. Similarly, the Home Minister’s National Disaster Management Fund has Rs. 1.30 billion. The Prime Minister chairs the Central Disaster Relief Fund, which has Rs. 4.14 billion.
Health experts have warned about the risk of multiple diseases, as well as COVID-19 vulnerability to disaster victims, citing the country’s increasing flood and landslide incidents.
During natural disasters, people lose their homes, access to food, transportation, and medical supplies.
Former Director of the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) and virologist Dr. Basudev Pandey stated that in such a dire situation, people are forced to live in a rescue shelter, which is confined and lacks basic amenities and health hygiene sanitation.
“As a result, people are more vulnerable to the attack of many water-borne diseases. Aside from that, mental health issues are frequently observed in victims of natural disasters who have lost their properties and loved ones,” said Dr. Pandey.
He stated that the first four weeks following relief and rescue are critical for disaster victims. Symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea begin to appear in the first week in people living in a filthy hoarded shelter, eating stale food, and drinking contaminated water.
Typhoid, Cholera, and Dysentery are seen in the second week, and in the third week, a more deadly disease like Jaundice and Meningitis are seen, leading to a more serious disease like Dengue in the fourth week.
“As a result, the priority should be to protect the vulnerable from water and airborne diseases by addressing basic needs such as cleaning the water source, providing mobile toilets, and fresh food,” Dr. Pandey added.
He also stated that a one-door policy should be implemented in the rescue shelter to ensure that fresh food and water are provided, as well as to reduce the risk of COVI-19 infection spreading in the community.
Dr. Sagar Rajbhandari, Director of the Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Prevention Hospital, has also stated that there is a lack of basic health hygiene in rescue centers due to the emphasis on rescue and relief.
According to Dr. Rajbhandari, “in such cases, people make the best of what they have and are forced to live off stale food, unsafe water, and unsafe latrines.”
Unsafe safe water encourages the spread of water-borne diseases, and flies from haphazard latrines spread the disease to food and water. Unsafe washing facilities contaminate the water even more, and this cycle continues to plague many people with severe water-borne diseases such as Malaria, Jaundice, and Cholera.”
Dr Krishna Poudel, Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Disease Control and Ministry of Health and Population spokesperson, stated that the Division of Epidemiology and Disease Control has formed Rapid Response Groups at all local levels, and local health organizations and health workers are involved, as the risk of health-related diseases and problems may increase affluent.
50 People Are Missing In Landslides In Helambu
At least 50 people have gone missing in Helambu as a result of a landslide caused by heavy rain. According to a Deshsanchar report, the landslide washed out seven houses in the Timbu Bazar areas of Ward 1 of Helambu Rural Municipality in Sindhupalchwok district.
The landslide also destroyed nine ponds designed to raise rainbow trout. The people who live in Timbu market, on the other hand, are safe and secure. According to the online report, which cites Ward Chair of War No. 2 Chhiring Gyalbu Lama, those include 39 Melamchi Project employees and 11 rainbow trout farm employees.
The flood-affected wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 of the Melamchi Drinking Water Project area,
The rescue operation is being launched by the police and local residents; however, it is severely disrupted due to the damage to roads leading to the landslide sites.
Floods in Manang have destroyed a rural municipality building, a police station, hotel buildings, and Prabhu Bank and Prime Commercial Bank buildings.
The office building of Naso Rural Municipality was washed away as the flood entered the settlement, according to Bishnu Lamichhane, Chief District Officer of Manang, with the Marsyangadi River swollen due to incessant rains for the last three days.
The floods damaged the police station in Dharapani, which is part of the same rural municipality.
CDO Lamichhane stated that Dharapani bazaar was in grave danger due to the swollen Marsyangdi river caused by the rains.
A belly bridge to Tachai and a suspension bridge in the Tilche area were washed away by the flood. Both of these areas are located in Manang, a Himalayan district.
Flooding has caused damage to electric poles and drinking water pipes. Because the poles were pulled down, there is no electricity in the district headquarters, and most people have turned off their cellphones. According to CDO Lamichhane, the Dharapani health post is in grave danger.
Dharapani residents are seeking refuge in the relatively safe village of Odar Gaun. According to the police, settlements near rivers are in jeopardy.
The recent heavy rains had raised the water level in the Melamchi River, which had swept away many houses, police stations, project camps, and government buildings, among other things.
Similarly, the identities of seven people who went missing from Helambu after the flood hit the area have been determined.
According to the district’s Assistant Chief District Officer, Madhav Bhandari, 31, and Ganesh Jyoti, 42, of Helambu-2, Tikamaya Khadka, 66, of Helambu-3, Gyanendra Kakshapati, 55, of Helambu-7, Chyangba Tamang, 50, and his wife from Helambu-6, and Surendra Nepal, 23, of Sangachowk Gadhi-6 are missing.
The flood on the Melamchi River on Tuesday night resulted in massive losses. “We have asked the residents to relocate to a safer location as soon as possible,” said the Assistant Chief District Officer.
Last year, the Sindhupalchowk district suffered a significant loss of life and property as a result of landslides. Tamang stated that some people have gone missing in the districts of Salyan, Bajura, Gorkha, and Jajarkot.
According to the Centre, the task of gathering additional information is currently underway. Tamang also stated that plans are being made to rescue those trapped in floods and landslides, distribute relief materials to victims, and relocate them to safer locations.
He stated that 26 people were rescued from a Nepal Army chopper in the Melamchi area this morning, and that a truck of relief materials had been sent from Kathmandu to the area.
According to the Home Ministry, plans are being made to send relief supplies to Manang via helicopter. Over 500 people have been evacuated and relocated to safer areas in Manang.
According to the initial information and news, there appears to have been an unimaginable flood. Another serious issue is that thousands of markets and settlements in Nepal, such as Melamchi Bazaar, are also at risk!
Based on the floods that occurred in Achham and Baglung last year, as well as Melamchi and other incidents, the government must make a decisive decision to reduce the loss of life and property by assessing the risk of cities, markets, and settlements along the river. The current early warning system and structural prevention measures do not appear to make much of a difference in these types of emergencies and disasters.