Saturday, 24 July, 2021

Intensify Relief Efforts

The rain-induced disasters such as flash floods, landslides and inundation have continued to take a heavy toll on the lives of people and properties in many parts of Nepal. According to the latest disaster updates issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), more than 26 districts across the country have remained affected by such calamities. What is worrying is that such disasters have taken the lives of 27 people so far while the same numbers of others have gone missing. The number of people injured due to disasters stands at 19. Melamchi and Helambu areas of Sindhupalchowk and some villages of Manang have lately suffered a huge loss in the first round of monsoon disasters. These disasters are believed to have caused a loss of private and public properties worth billions of rupees since the start of this year's monsoon some three weeks ago. Some 462 private houses have been destroyed by floods and landslides while some 110 other houses have suffered a partial damage.

As the country has witnessed the further activation of monsoon phenomena over the past three days, heavy rains have been recorded in different parts. Such torrential rains in the mountain, hilly and Terai regions have resulted in increased water levels in major river systems, including the Melamchi River in Sindhupalchowk. News reports say that the flooded rivers have put many houses and settlements at risk of being swept away or submerged. Various rivers have also either damaged or swept away dozens of bridges and other infrastructures. Several highways and roads have remained obstructed. A number of areas like Bardaghat of Nawalparasi and Hetauda and Rajaiya of Makwanpur have seen heavy downpours over the past three days.

This has caused a sense of panic among the people living in the settlements close to the river banks. In view of possible risk of floods and inundation, the flood information section, under the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM), has already issued a warning through mobile phone messages to the residents and asked them to remain watchful following heavy rains. More than 220.8 mm of rain was recorded in the Rajaiya Centre of Eastern Rapti Reservoir from Tuesday to Wednesday. During the same period, Bardaghat of the Narayani reservoir recorded 177.4 mm of rain while 121 mm and 63.4 mm of rains were measured in Hetdauda and Pokhara, respectively.

The government has deployed all the three security bodies -- Nepali Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force — for searching and rescuing the victims of disasters and distributing food and other relief materials. It is notable that the rescue teams have so far relocated about 1,600 people to safer places in some districts and rescued some 670 others. In coordination with the local administrations and district disaster risk management committees, the MoHA has mobilised search and rescue teams for this humanitarian cause. Besides, the government has also accorded top priority to reconstructing the private houses ravaged by the disasters and released millions of rupees for this purpose. Despite such efforts, it has been difficult for many victims of the natural calamities to have the much-needed relief. In such a situation, the government must intensify its efforts to make sure that all those in need get needed support immediately.