This file photo shows a settlement in upper Mustang. Most of the houses in this region are not designed to withstand heavy rainfall. | Photo: Republica
POKHARA, Aug 14: It rains rarely in the northern part of upper Mustang, and when it rains, it rains very softly. Keeping this in mind, the residents opt to build thatched-roofed houses. However, this year, it rained heavily in upper Mustang and now all of the roofs are seeping water.
Chief District Officer (CDO) of Mustang, Shishir Paudel, confirmed about receiving information about the water seepage in houses of upper Mustang.
“I have been informed that the continuous downpour has caused such problem,” he said, adding, “Only thatched-roofed houses are facing the problem, not the concrete houses.”
According to police, Ghami-based police station is finding it difficult to operate after its roof stared leaking water. Police Inspector Rajendra Regmi said that this year's rain was the heaviest in 30 years.
“We have placed plastic sheets over the roof to fend off the rain for now,” he said, adding, “The villagers are doing the same.”
Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) office based in Lo-manthang also informed that it has faced similar problem. According to ACAP conservation officer, Tulasi Dahal, light rainfall is continuing in the region and the problem of leakage still persists.
“Since it rains very rarely in this region, the people have been building thatched-roofed houses since a long time,” he said.
“We have put up plastics on the roof to minimize the effects,” Dahal said, adding, “Since the rain is continuous and we barely get to see the sunlight, we are in no condition to renovate the roof.” Most of the houses in villages including Lo-manthang, Chhoser and Ghami in upper Mustang are facing similar problem.
It is an age-old tradition in upper Mustang to build small houses with thatched roof in order to keep the locals warm during the winter season. On top of that, it is expensive to transport construction materials needed to build concrete houses. The locals were confident that the roofs would deal no damage since it rarely rains in the region.
According to the chief of Meteorological Office, Pokhara, Raja Ram Dhakal, the heavy rainfall in the mountain region was caused by the westerly winds. The Office informed that the region dealt 29 millimeters of rainfall on Friday. This amount of rain is considered quite heavy for the mountain region.
The locals of upper Mustang generally change their thatched roofs every two years.