‘Govt doing its bit to help victims’

Kathmandu, July 24

Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa today informed the House of Representatives about the government’s efforts to carry out relief and rescue operation in flood and landslide affected areas.

He presented details of the government’s work, saying helicopters had been kept on standby, one in Itahari and another in Surkhet, to carry out relief and rescue operation.

Thapa said the Cabinet had decided to provide appropriate relief to those who lost their loved ones in the recent disasters and to provide treatment to injured persons.  Thapa said that national and international stakeholders, including UN agencies were also assisting with relief operations.

Stating that 35 districts had been worst hit by the recent floods and landslides, Thapa said the government had sent thousands of tarpaulins to flood hit areas of the Tarai. He said the government was trying its best to open roads, highways and communication networks damaged by floods and landslides. He said the effort to establish Disaster Management Authority was in the final phase.

Minister Thapa said that integrated approach would be needed to control and mitigate floods. He said disasters were also caused by global warming and if nations did not try to control global warming, the existence of human civilisation could be in peril. He said that experts had warned that by 2100 almost two thirds of Himalayan glaciers would melt and in that case the existence of the entire Indian subcontinent would be imperilled.

Thapa said the government had provided ex-gratia payment of Rs 100,000 to families of those who lost their members in the recent disasters. According to the home ministry, death toll from floods and landslides had reached 108 today. Thirty-three people are still missing and 46 people were injured in the disaster.

He said  the government was making efforts to hold talks with India on the floods  caused in the border region of Nepal due to embankments on the Indian  side.