KATHMANDU, July 14: At least 43 people have been killed and 24 others are missing following landslides and flooding triggered by incessant monsoon rain in the central and eastern parts of the country. With the downpours now shifting toward the western region, the government has alerted residents around riverbanks in the western tarai and also evacuated scores of locals living in flood-prone areas in Banke.
Daily life has been badly affected across the country with at least 10,000 people said to be displaced, according to the National Emergency Operation Center at the Ministry of Home Affairs.
According to Nepal Police, the death toll rose to 43 on Saturday night from 21 on Friday. Five individuals were killed each in Lalitpur and Bhojpur, four in Makwanpur, three each in Kathmandu, Khotang, Okhaldhunga and Kavre, two each in Dhading, Jhapa and Sindhuli and one each in Parsa, Ramechhap, Ilam, Sunsari, Bara, Dolpa, Siraha, Rautahat, Dhanusha, Palpa and Chitwan in different rain-related incidents .
As many as 24 are missing in landslides and floods and 24 have been receiving treatment at various hospitals and health centers.
“Four helicopters are on stand by in Kathmandu but they are unable to take off due to bad weather,” said Bednidhi Khanal, under secretary at the Home Ministry.
An army helicopter reached Dhanusha from Surkhet on Saturday after attempts to send helicopters from Kathmandu and Itahari failed. The major highways remained completely or partially obstructed at various sections on Saturday also, affecting the supply of emergency services to the southern plains. Houses remain submerged in up to four feet of water in the southern parts of Rautahat, Sarlahi, Mahottari, Dhanusha and Siraha, according police personnel involved in rescue operations.
The central and eastern parts of the country were badly affected by the incessant rains since Thursday night. “The central tarai and the hill districts of central and eastern Nepal have been the most badly affected,” said police spokesperson Bishwaraj Pokharel.
Some 2,000 individuals stranded by inundation have been rescued and from different places by Nepal Army, Nepal Police Force and Armed Police Force personnel.
Most government offices at Sarlahi district headquarters Malanghawa have been submerged including the District Administration Office and the Armed Police Force base.
“Landline telephones have gone dead after the Nepal Telecom office in Malanghawa became submerged and power is out in most southern areas of the district . Various police posts in the rural areas are out of contact since the last two days,” said Chief District Officer of Sarlahi Krishna Bahadur Raut.
Hospitals are providing only emergency services and government and private offices and schools, factories , mills and local markets are closed in most of the affected districts. “Daily life has been badly affected in the district, with offices, schools and factories closed since three days, while only about 30 percent of the market opened on Saturday after the rain stopped,” said Raut.
The District Administration Office has been coordinating the rescue and relief with local governments and various organizations. They are using motorboats and other available resources. Over a dozen corporate entities have been affected in Birgunj by the flooded Sirsiya River.
Imports through the major transit points with India have been interrupted by flooding in the border areas.
Health workers have advised people to use chlorine in their drinking water to avoid disease from polluted water in the inundated areas.