KATHMANDU, July 28: Maheshwari Thapa of Khaptad-Channa-6, Bajhang was a health worker by profession. But Thapa who had saved many lives was no less than a doctor for the people in the remote areas. She devoted herself completely to the treatment of pregnant women and patients with various illnesses. Her one and only dream was to make health services accessible to the people in the rural parts, says her brother Janak Thapa.
Unfortunately, her wish to serve those people lifelong could not materialize. Her dreams were cut short by a devastating landslide which took her life a week ago. She was only 28. She was swept away by a huge mound of earth when she was in her shed managing cattle. "It breaks my heart when I recall that day when my ambitious sister had to leave this world before she could fulfill her dreams," laments Janak.
The landslide at Galegada also killed Maheshwari's son Krishna, 5, her mother-in-law Ujali, 45, along with their neighbor 22 years old Mangal Thapa. Though the village is grief-stricken by their death, Maheshwari's death in particular has left more hearts aching. "We don't' know who will treat us when we get sick now onward," said local Jaydhane Thapa, adding, "She would be there whenever we needed her."
Not only Maheshwari but also dozens of youths have lost their lives at young age due to landslides. In Bajhang, as many as four pedestrians lost their lives to landslides in the last week. Similarly, landslides triggered by heavy rainfall crushed three to death in Rolpa a week ago. The deceased have been identified as Chameli Pun, 18, Hume Gharti, 28, and Obi Gharti, 12, of Sunilsmriti Rural Municipality-8. They were killed after being crushed under the shed of local Haste Pun.
Jit Bahadur Pun, one of the locals, informed Republica that the victims could not be rescued because the incident could not come to light immediately as their shed was away from the human settlement. With this, the number of people dying in landslides has reached six in Rolpa. Furthermore, a person in Darchula was buried under a house after a catastrophic landslide on Wednesday morning. Naresh Ode, 22 of Shailyashikhar Municipality-2, was buried under the house of Man Bahadur BK of Shailyashikhar-9, according to police.
However, these are just a few cases of landslides which have been reported but there are many cases which are not. Lack of technical supervision during road construction and deforestation are the major reasons behind landslides. We must plant trees around our houses, says Bir Bahadur Oli, Chief of Karnali Province Police. Experts have advised not letting children, disabled and elderly people in landslide-prone areas especially at night.
This year alone, seven people have lost their lives while 27 have sustained injuries due to landslides in Karnali Province, show the details of Karnali Province Federal Police. Province no 5, too, is considered vulnerable to landslides. The records maintained by the province police office show that 61 people lost their lives in landslides, floods and rains in the last one year while 21 others were injured. Hundreds of people have been rendered homeless and property worth millions of rupees has been damaged.With the onset of the monsoon, four people have died in Banke due to incessant rainfall. Meanwhile, two people have died in Dang while many houses were inundated in Nwalparasi, Gulmi, east Rukum, Rupandehi, and Kapilvastu, among others. The Internal Affairs and Law Ministry of Province 5 has sanctioned Rs 70 million for Disaster Management Fund.(With inputs from our district reporters Ganesh BK/Nepalgunj, Binod Pariyar/Rupandehi, Dinesh Subedi/Rolpa, Jagat Khadka/Bajhang)Caption: A house buried by landslide in Rolpa.