KANCHANPUR, June 21: The flood in Mahakali River bordering Nepal and India and local Bhujela River entered a human settlement at Bhimdatta Nagar Municipality-12 in Kanchanpur district, displacing scores of locals.
One among them is Hema Devi KC of Airighat in ward no 6 of the municipality. Due to the flood, the settlement where KC had been residing over four decades has been submerged this monsoon.
The 68-year-old shared, “We never experienced floods in our settlement although the Mahakali River used to swell during the monsoon. This time the flood entered the settlement unexpectedly and displaced us. I have been sheltering in a makeshift tent for two days and living in a sorry state.”
According to her, the construction of embankment in the Mahakali River in the course of building a four-lane road alongside the River triggered the flood to inundate their settlement that did not witness flood and inundation for a single time in 40 years.
KC grieved that nobody including the authority concerned visited the inundated area and took stock of their situation since the incident. The daily wage earner further lamented, “We used to work as labourers. With the accommodation left inhabitable due to inundation, where do we stay and how do we feed ourselves now?”
The water level in Bhujela River rose after it got blocked due to the embankments placed along the Mahakali River, according to KC.
The locals agree with her and add that those involved in the construction did not pay attention to making an outlet for the Bhujela River water which led to unprecedented incident of flood and inundation in the settlement.
Pramod Bhatta, a local, ranted, “While the embankments were being built, we had warned that the River could swell or be blocked any moment. No one paid any heed to our call back then. Now the whole settlement has been inundated.”
According to him, water rose up to 2 feet from the surface of land in their settlement. A total of 20 houses have been submerged.
Many of the survivors have been staying in their relatives’ places while some have been staying in open space under the makeshift tent. Some survivors have been relocated and housed in ward offices and nearest school premises.
“The flood entering our settlement has displaced us and swept away our clothes and food items. Unless an appropriate outlet for Bhujhela River is not sought, we will be left stranded,” he wailed, adding that he had not eaten anything since Sunday.
Ward chairman of Bhimdutta Municipality Ward Number 12 Krishna Singh Deuba admitted that inundation occurred due to construction of physical infrastructures in and around the Mahakali River without conducting proper environmental impact studies and researches.
The flood in the River has begun sweeping away the embankment nearby the bridge. Locals are worried that the monsoon could wreak havoc on them as it has just started this year.
Taula Rana, who lives by filtering aggregates and breaking stones into pebbles on the bank of the Mahakali River is anxious about earning livelihood to his family and stay alive as the flood has swept away all the food items stashed at his home.
Recounting the flood and the sleepless nights that followed, he narrated: “Due to fear, we lost our sleep the moment we came to learn about the rising level of water in the Bhujela River and Mahakali River. Our settlement has been inundated with the onset of monsoon.”
“How can I fend off my family against natural disasters and on top of it, against hunger?” he questioned worriedly.
The water level in the Mahakali River and Bhujela River has begun receding since the rain in hilly areas in the western part of the country stopped. But the level of fear in the flood survivors has not subsided an inch. The destitute flood survivors are anxiously anticipating the presence of the local government and its support for relief and rescue efforts.