KATHMANDU, August 1: A fresh flood has occurred in the Melamchi River yet again. Following incessant rain on Saturday, the flood struck the region on Sunday morning, sweeping away the ‘Rato Pul’ along with 12 houses and tarp settlements damaged by the previous floods.
The bridge had survived the devastating landslide and flood on June 15, but has now been swept away, totally disconnecting many villages in Helambu Rural Municipality. After the flash flood in June, ‘Rato Pul’ was the only way in and out by road.
Helambu is now completely isolated after the recent flood washed away the Rato Pul. In the previous floods in the Melamchi-Helambu corridor, only this bridge had remained intact. However, a fresh flood has hit the area at a time when attempts were being made to repair the bridge by building embankments.
Sindhupalchowk Police Chief, Superintendent of Police (SP) Rajan Adhikari said that the Rato Pul over the Melamchi River connecting Helambu Rural Municipality was washed away by the flood at around 8 this morning.
On Saturday night, the water level in the Melamchi River was above this concrete bridge. It is speculated that two other suspension bridges were also washed away. Those bridges have not been seen in the river. According to SP Adhikari, 12 houses and tarp settlements in Helambu and Melamchi previously damaged by floods were also washed away.
Earlier, a landslide from Bhremathang of Helambu Rural Municipality-1 on June 15 had caused a heavy loss of life and property up to Helambu Rural Municipality and Melamchi Municipality. Five were killed and at least 15 are still missing. The floods had destroyed Ambathan, Timbu, Chanaute and Melamchi bazar. A dozen motorable suspension bridges were also swept away.
“Helambu Rural Municipality is very much likely to suffer from a food and medical crisis now. Whatever relief materials distributed earlier were distributed to only those places highlighted by the media. Villages in the upper region had remained disconnected and helpless then and are desperate and helpless now,” said Purna Bahadur Gautam, principal of Shree Melamchi Ghyang Secondary School adding that people will now have to charter choppers in order to supply food and in case of medical emergencies.