Kathmandu, April 5
The Ministry of Home Affairs has warned people of an increased risk of fire outbreaks during the dry season and urged them to be more careful to prevent such incidents.
The incidents of fire in urban areas, especially the Kathmandu Valley, is on the rise with the onset of dry season. “A fire is not a natural disaster, but an incident caused by human negligence and carelessness.
Therefore, it is wise to neutralise and control the sources of fire to prevent potential risk,” said a press statement issued by Joint Secretary Yadav Prasad Koirala, who is also the spokesperson for the home ministry.
The MoHA attributed increasing incidents of fire to the tendency among people of storing highly inflammable petroleum products. “People should be careful with sources of fire.
The government would like to appeal to all to refrain from storing petrol, diesel and kerosene as leakage of the petroleum products could trigger fire,” it said.
Data from the agency shows that as of September 12, the city had witnessed as many as 993 fires, killing 14 people and injuring 57 residents and 23 firefighters.
The Metropolitan Police Office informed that the Valley had witnessed 395 fire incidents in the last fiscal and has recorded as many as 220 so far this fiscal. The number of fire incidents nearly double during the dry season, show the records.
Short-circuit, overheating of electronic equipment, fluctuating voltage and electric spark after a sudden resumption of power supply following load-shedding, poor handling of burning lamps and cooking gas leakage are the prime reasons for fire outbreaks.
On an average, MPO or Juddha Barun Yantra gets two calls a day to respond to fire incidents. Many more cases go unreported as people themselves extinguish small fires before they spread.
It is harder for the authorities to put out a fire in the dry season as many sources of water dry up during the period (April-May).
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, fire hazards are responsible for property loss worth 350 million rupees and the deaths of 43 people in Nepal annually. On an average, a year sees more than 1,500 such fires.
The data from 1971 to 2012 released by MoHA last year show that fire is the fourth largest fatal disaster in the country after epidemic, landslide and flood.
A version of this article appears in print on April 06, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.