‘Flood is bad, govt's dishonesty is worse’

Published On: August 11, 2022 04:23 PM NPT By: Upendra Lamichhane

KATHMANDU, August 11: Narayan Prasad Mainali of the landless squatter’s settlement along the Manohara River in Bhaktapur spent the night in waist-deep water on Tuesday due to the flood caused by incessant rain. Mainali, who was living in a small hut with her two children, told Republica that he had lost the hope of 'living' at that time.

"The Manohara River surrounded us from three sides and turned the settlement into an island," said Mainali, "Neither could we run away, nor could anyone save us.” He said that about 800 houses were inundated due to the lack of a wall of metallic mesh and stones along the river bank of about 1 km.

"We raised the issue from the ward office to Singha Durbar," he said, showing his daughter's wet book, "Because of the lack of attention of the stakeholders in settlement management, lives are at risk." Tilak BK of the same settlement agrees with Mainali. "A flood is bad, but the government’s dishonesty in resolving this problem is even worse," he said, adding, “The problem came from not paying attention to the management of the disorderly settlement for almost two decades."

He said that no one paid attention to it because it’s a landless squatters’ settlement. "Everybody needs us during the election," he says, "When the election is over, we don’t get anyone's support." "Other things may come later, but we have to live," he says, "We hope that the government will build a metallic mesh with stones along the riverbanks to avoid floods in the future."

BK, who has been living here for a long time, said that he had never seen such a flood before. He said, "Every year, there is flooding in the river. But this time, the entire river surrounded the settlement." He said that everything was destroyed after the river entered the settlement. "From the children's books to the rice we eat, everything has become wet and damaged," he said, "Now, the sight of clouds in the sky is enough to scare the people." About 900 houses of the landless squatters’ settlement on the banks of the Madhyapur Thimi Municipality-1 were inundated since 12:00 AM.  Bina Limbu said that there was a rush to save lives in the settlement after the river water entered the settlement in the middle of the night. "The situation in this area was very scary throughout the night," Limbu added.

In the night, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force teams were also deployed to rescue, but due to the floods, they could not reach the settlement on time. Limbu said that clothes, food and other items inside the house were destroyed by the flood. Due to cold and mud, children and senior citizens in the settlement are facing more problems.

The rain on Tuesday night caused flooding also in other rivers of the capital, damaging houses in some areas.  

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