Heavy rainfall leads to flooding and landslides across country, with 17 dead

  • Adverse weather to continue until Sunday, with the possibility of heavy rainfall in mid-hill and Tarai districts, predicts weather office.
- CHANDAN KUMAR MANDAL, ANUP OJHA, Kathmandu

Jul 13, 2019-

The monsoon has arrived—and with a fury. Incessant rainfall, beginning Thursday night and continuing well into Friday, triggered floods and landslides across the country, killing at least 17 people, with six missing. Thousands were displaced from their homes as floodwaters rose in the rivers, inundating whole villages, primarily in the Tarai. Highways too were blocked either by the waters or by landslides. The rainfall is expected to continue until Sunday.

According to figures from the Nepal Police, 17 people, including three in Kathmandu, died while six are missing and seven injured. Initial reports showed that 400 families in Morang and 35 families in Bara have been displaced, Bed Nidhi Khanal, chief of the National Emergency Operation Centre under the Home Ministry, told the Post.

“The impact of heavy rainfall has been felt across the country. However, the situation is under control so far,” said Khanal. “If the weather continues to worsen, as the forecast has shown, then the situation will be disastrous around the country. We are on high alert for immediate response.”

In Kathmandu Valley, three people died when a wall collapsed on them at Mulpani, in Kageshwori-Manohara Municipality, said Deputy Superintendent of Police Hobindra Bogati of the Metropolitan Police Range. The deceased have been identified as Nitu Yadav, 20, Sharmila Yadav 35, and Kundan Yadav, 10. Binod Chaudhari, 30, is missing.

“Chaudhary had dived into the Balkhu river to recover a gas cylinder that was swept away,” said Bogati.In Kathmandu, waters flooded Kalanki, sending residents to the roofs and top floors of their homes as waters seeped into the ground floors. The rains submerged Maitrinagar, Khasibazaar, the Land Revenue Office, and the traffic police office. Many private and government vehicles were immersed in the waters, said Debendra Bahadur Pal, deputy superintendent of police at the Kalimati Metropolitan Police Circle.

“We have deployed four different troops of police to rescue people and their property,” said Pal. “We can’t yet estimate the amount of property losses, as our concern is to secure human settlements.”

In Bhaktapur, waters from the swollen Hanumante river entered settlements in Jagati, Sallaghari, Radhe-Radhe, Ram Mandir, Siddhi Smriti and Thimi, according to Narayan Prasad Bhatta, chief district officer of Bhaktapur.

“These places were inundated last year as well. That’s why we have alerted all three security agencies--the Nepal Army, Armed Police Force and Nepal Police,” said Bhatta. While the Armed Police Force has been deployed on the shores of the Manohara river, Nepal Police was mobilised in Thimi with Nepal Army troops in Radhe Radhe, he said.

Heavy rainfall started earlier this week, with the monsoon finally arriving. But since Thursday, the rains have continued unabated.

The sudden surge in rainfall has been attributed to the positioning of the monsoon trough inside Nepal, resulting in non-stop rainfall in various parts of the country, according to meteorologist Min Kumar Aryal of the Meteorological Forecasting Division, which predicted steady rainfall in its bulletin.

“As the monsoon is very active, with the positioning of the monsoon trough above Nepali territory, rainfall is likely to continue for the next couple of days,” Aryal told the Post. “A similar intensity is likely to continue till Sunday. The impact of rainfall will be intense in Chitwan, Bara, Parsa and surrounding Tarai districts.”

Outside of the Valley, the Tarai districts faced great risk of inundation and loss of life.

In Makwanpur, a boy was swept away while crossing the Damki stream in Thaha Municipality. A woman died after being swept away by a landslide at Jhulke in Sindhuli. Hem Kumari Sunuwar died while undergoing treatment at a local health post, according to police.

In Ramechhap, a senior citizen died and another woman was injured when a shed collapsed in Rampur. Police said Padma Kumari Sunuwar died when the debris of the shed buried her. The Khurkot-Manthali road segment has also been obstructed due to landslides.

In Bhojpur, a man was killed when a house collapsed in Ram Prasad Rai Rural Municipality. Police said Jagat Bahadur Rai, 66, was crushed to death by falling debris after floodwaters entered his house. Janak BK, 14, was also killed in a landslide in Temkemaiyu.

In Khotang, three people died in a landslide at Sawakatahare in Khotehang. Police said Rekha Rai and her two sons have gone missing after a landslide swept away their home.

In Itahari, a man was swept away by the Sukumari stream. Police said Sagar Thapa, 35, was fishing in the stream.

In Morang, around 2,000 families were displaced after floodwaters entered their settlements. The majority are landless squatters.

In Rautahat, a motorcyclist, 35-year-old Ram Kumar Patel, was swept away by the Lalbakaiya river.

In Parsa, a 10-year-old boy was swept away by the Sigyahi stream. Nikhil Patel of Parsagadhi was rescued by locals but died while undergoing treatment at the Birgunj-based Gandak Hospital.

In Kailash, Makwanpur, a 55-year-old woman, Taramaya Pakhrin, went missing in a landslide at Kalikhola.

Asmita Tamang, 8, of Gajuri in Dhading, was killed after a landslide destroyed her house.

In Kavre, two people were killed and two others injured when a landslide swept away a house at Chunatal. Goma Dangal and her granddaughter Suhawi died when their home was swept away. Two injured are receiving treatment at the Scheer Memorial Hospital in Banepa. Meanwhile, Parthali and Sallaphed sections of the Khopasi-Dhukharka-Chyamrangbesi road have been swept away by landslides.

Continuous rainfall has swelled rivers coming out of the Chure range in provinces 1, 2 and 3. The waters crossed warning levels in at least 21 stations of the Narayani, Koshi, Bagmati, Kamala and Kankai river basins in the last 24 hours. The Department of Hydrology and Meteorology warned of flash-floods and the possibility of waterlogging and inundation in low lying Tarai lands.

Makwanpurgadhi station of the Narayani river recorded the highest rainfall at 386mm in the last 24 hours. Likewise, other rainfall stations in major rivers like Narayani, Bagmati Kamala, Koshi--all flowing via central and eastern Tarai--marked rainfall above 200mm, crossing warning levels and indicating possible floods downstream.

The Flood Forecasting Division of the hydrology department recorded dangerous water levels at Khokana, Rai Gaon and Karmaiya stations of the Bagmati river.

“A strong monsoon has circulated around the country with chances of heavy rainfall in many places. However, some areas can receive extreme rainfall in that period,” said Aryal of the forecasting division. “Chances of water-induced disasters--floods in the Tarai and landslides in the hills--are strong.”

Although monsoon has engulfed the entire country, the impact will likely be limited to the central and eastern parts of the Tarai region and the mid-hills.

(With input from local correspondents)

Published: 13-07-2019 10:22

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