Nepal | September 25, 2020

Floods, landslides cause heavy damage to infrastructure

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The incessant rainfall for the last three days have caused major floods and landslides across several districts of the country as a result of which many road networks have been severely affected and transportation has come to a halt.

According to the Department of Roads (DoR), 34 roads including various highways have been blocked at present.

Meanwhile, 38 damaged roads have been reopened that had been disrupted due to landslides. Similarly, 15 other roads have been reopened but only one-way traffic is being allowed at the moment.

The DoR has requested people to use the Tribhuvan Highway as an alternative as the Jogimara-Mawakhola section of the Prithvi Highway has been closed. Likewise, it has urged all to use the Bardibas-Sindhuli-Banepa road as an alternative to the Narayangarh-Mugling Highway as the Kalikhola section along this highway has been disrupted.

“Even though many road sections have been brought into operation after landslides caused major disturbances, some roads cannot be used at the moment despite the continuous efforts of the road department unless the rains abate,” said Keshav Kumar Sharma, director general of the DoR. He also urged people to drive with restraint where only a single lane has been opened and not create a crowd in the problematic areas across various highways and road sections.

The Department of Roads has also requested travellers to first check its website or that of the Ministry of Home Affairs or Nepal Police to get information about the road conditions before they embark on any journey.

Meanwhile, Sharma mentioned that about Rs 1.5 billion has been lost due to the damage caused on several bridges and roads across the country so far.

Similarly, the floods and landslides have damaged some hydropower projects and transmission lines across the country, shutting down 200 megawatts of hydroelectricity projects.

Kul Man Ghising, managing director of Nepal Electricity Authority, said that projects with capacity of 200 megawatts had been shut down due to floods and landslides. According to him, power generation at Trishuli Hydropower Project, Trishuli 3A Hydropower Project and Devighat Hydropower Project has been stopped due to the floods.

Though the Trishuli Hydropower Project restarted operations this morning, others are still closed. The 14-MW Modi Hydropower Project in Parbat has also been shut down.

Meanwhile, Ghising informed that though the water flow had increased due to the continuous rainfall, electricity production had declined due to the damage caused by floods and landslides. For instance, the 144-MW Kaligandaki Hydropower Project has generated only 70 megawatt electricity.

Similarly, electricity poles have been uprooted along different corridors and various substations have been submerged due to landslides and heavy rainfall across the country. The Thapakhola Hydropower Project has also been closed due to floods and its 33kV transmission line has been damaged.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 22, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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