Friday, 17 September, 2021

Reducing Risks Of Monsoon Disasters

The country is currently facing natural disasters like floods, landslides and inundations triggered by monsoon rains. The rain disasters occurring in different parts of the country have caused losses of numerous lives and property this year right from the onset of the monsoon season. As many as one hundred 87 people died and 38 others are missing due to the floods and landslides across the country between mid-April and the end of August. During the period, altogether 2,058 households have been badly affected by the calamities, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Authority. On Sunday alone, four persons were killed and five went missing in a monsoon-induced disaster in different places. Similarly, three persons were killed and two went missing due to floods and landslides in Darchula district on Monday. Floods and inundation may cause more damage until the monsoon season comes to an end by late September.

The Melamchi area of Sindhupalchowk witnessed a horrifying natural disaster due to the floods, landslides and sedimentation in the beginning of the season. The disaster created havoc on several settlements, destroyed hundreds of houses and killed more than two dozen people. It also displaced thousands of locals and made the Kathmandu Valley’s most anticipated Melamchi water supply project uncertain. Of late, similar disaster has wreaked havoc in Dang, Surkhet, Bardiya, Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Sankhuwasabha and Dolakha districts. Such rain-induced disasters are not new for Nepal, however. Every year, thousands of the people experience such ordeal. Therefore, staying prepared to minimise the impacts of such events and providing rescue, relief and rehabilitation services are very important.

A large chunk of our budget is spent on the construction of roads, irrigation canals, drinking water and power plants annually. Since these infrastructures are the bases of development, they are built every year. When they are damaged by the floods and landslides, it is a massive loss for the country. On the other hand, the incidents of floods and landslides have been increasing year by year owing to the construction of development projects without scientific analysis of environmental consequences. Our policy makers and development planners should understand complex geographical conditions and environmental vulnerabilities. Landslides occur in hill slopes. Avalanches and glacial lake bursts happen in mountains. All of these disastrous events cause devastations in the downstream areas. After excessive rains in the hills, the plains face inundation and flooding. The government should bear in mind this reality while formulating plans and policies for infrastructure development disaster preparedness.

Our experts are capable of identifying possible areas of landslides, floods and erosions. Local people are also more aware of such areas where rain disasters are common. The government should construct infrastructures taking advice from experts and local communities. This could help minimise the incidents of monsoon disasters. Similarly, locations of the plains where inundation occurs every year should be identified and preparations should be made accordingly. The government agencies like National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Authority need to be on constant alert during the period of monsoon to save the lives of citizens and their properties. If quick and effective response from concerned agencies is not taken, rain-related disasters will make many people victims in mountains, hills and plains.