July 15, 2019 07:24 AM NPT
Locals wading through an inundated section in Gaur municipality on Sunday. Photo: Republica
KATHMANDU, July 15: An emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday has decided to provide all medical treatment free of cost to those injured in landslides and floods and mobilize rapid response teams comprising doctors to flood-affected areas.
The decision comes after several districts mainly in the eastern and central regions of the country were severely affected by flooding since the past four days. As floods continue to claim lives in low-lying areas, Prime Minister KP Oli had summoned ministers to discuss ways to tackle the growing crisis.
“The government will provide the best possible treatment to the injured,” reads a nine-point decision made after the meeting. “Special arrangement will be made for those physically-disabled persons and the families of those killed in the disaster,” it further says.
The cabinet meeting was told, based on a preliminary assessment, that more than 60 people have died in floods and landslides while 31 are missing and 28 are injured. Over 10,385 households in various parts of the country have been displaced, according to the assessment.
Government offices, industrial units, local markets and farmlands are badly damaged by floodwaters in disaster-affected areas of Province 1 and Province 2.
Elected representatives of local governments have been urged to give high priority to disaster response and involve themselves in rescue and relief operations by mobilizing available resources.
The meeting has also decided to provide relief to the victims immediately. The government, which has already decided to handle rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations on its own, has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to assess the damage nationwide as soon as possible.
According to the meeting’s minute, the victims will be provided relief once the home ministry comes up with loss details. While the federal government has yet to announce relief package for the victims, the provincial governments have already started announcing immediate relief for the families of those killed in floods and landslides.
Province 1 government has decided to provide Rs 300,000 to the household of each deceased whereas Province 2 has announced a relief of Rs 1 million per family of the deceased.
The Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Physical Planning and Transportation have been instructed to reopen the roads closed by floods and landslides by clearing the debris and installing Bailey bridges where necessary and rebuild the damaged physical infrastructure.
The ministries have been asked to continue rescue operations and stay on alert as the wet weather is gradually shifting toward the western region of the country after causing devastation in the eastern and central regions.
Also, the Ministry of Home Affairs has been entrusted the responsibility of coordinating among government agencies, non-governmental organizations and private sectors to ensure the availability of food and shelter for the flood victims.