Thursday, 5 August, 2021

Standing Prepared For Monsoon Fury

Within the first week of the start of this year's monsoon, flash floods and landslides triggered by torrential rains have wreaked havoc in different parts of the country, killing several people and causing a huge loss of public and private properties. The natural calamities have dealt a serious blow to the nation amidst fears of the COVID-19 pandemic. These disasters have thrown life out of gear in various districts including Sindhupalchowk, Manang, Palpa, Kaski, Gorkha, Myagdi and Jajarkot. Considered as one of the most disaster-prone districts in the country, Sindhupalchowk has witnessed the biggest property damage. Many houses located in the Melamchi Bazaar were submerged with the flooded Melamchi River and its tributaries. Scores of people had died and gone missing in some villages of the district in the rainy season last year as well. Hundreds of households had also been displaced due to floods and landslides. The authorities had come forward with a plan to resettle the displaced families in safer places. But before the implementation of that plan, the fresh disasters have hit the helpless people hard once again.

At least five persons have been killed in the disasters since Tuesday. But dozens of people are believed to have gone missing from Sindhupalchowk and some other districts. The government has mobilised teams to carry out rescue operations and provide relief materials to those in need. Joint security teams of Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and Nepali Army rescued about 70 persons from various places on Wednesday alone. The Nepali Army also airlifted dozens of people trapped by floods from Melamchi. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Authority (NDRRMA), rescue operations are going on in disaster-hit areas despite unfavourable weather conditions. The government has decided to make rescue, relief and management works in the areas affected by floods and landslides more effective through the mobilisation of all the ministries and security agencies. Necessary arrangements have also been made to instantly provide food items and tents to the victims and rescue and take people to safety.

A meeting of the Disaster Management Executive Committee headed by Minister for Home Affairs Khagaraj Adhikari held at Singha Durbar on Wednesday came up with the decision to respond to disasters promptly. It has directed the security agencies to intensify rescue and relief operations and treatment of the victims after evaluating the situation of the disaster-hit district, including Sindhupalchowk. Meanwhile, the meeting endorsed the Monsoon Preparedness and Response Action Plan-2021. The action plan invloving concerned ministries, donors, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) deals with natural disasters during this monsoon.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has asked the relevant government agencies to work in close coordination to prevent further loss of life and property from floods and landslides. Addressing the sixth meeting of the National Council for Natural Disaster Risk Reduction and Management at his official residence at Baluwater on Wednesday evening, the Prime Minister said: "The government is preparing moves to control disasters by assessing the possible risks." He also instructed the security agencies to consider the risk of COVID-19 infection while shifting a large number of people to safer places. In view of this critical situation, various political parties have appealed to their cadres and supporters to extend necessary help to the disaster victims. The government needs to focus on disaster preparedness and applying early warning system to alert people at risk.