Kathmandu, August 12
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba today instructed all four security agencies to immediately rescue people affected by floods in various districts.
The PM held a meeting with line ministers and top bureaucrats in the evening and issued this instruction, according to a press release issued by the PM’s Secretariat. Home Minister Janardan Sharma, Defence Minister Bhimsen Das Pradhan, and chiefs of Nepal Police, Nepali Army, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department were present at the meeting.
According to the release, the PM told the chiefs of security agencies that flooding had caused huge loss of life and property in the Tarai districts and the chiefs of security agencies should go to Tarai districts and lead the relief and rescue operation. “You all should not remain here now, but go to the Tarai to carry out relief and rescue operation in a coordinated manner,” the release quoted the PM as telling the chiefs of security agencies.
The PM also instructed ministers and bureaucrats to identify vulnerable areas and adopt precautionary measures.
The PM told the chiefs of security agencies that the government was ready to provide all necessary help in relief and rescue operations.
The PM also told the participants to take the help of civil society in relief and rescue operations.
According to the release, Home Minister Janardan Sharma told the PM that 80 per cent of flood-affected areas were inundated and government agencies had not been able to fly helicopters to the flood-affected areas due to bad weather.
Chief of Army Staff Rajendra Chhetri told the PM that although the Nepali Army could not use helicopters due to bad weather, he had kept relief and rescue teams on standby at all the airports.
Earlier, PM Deuba had instructed the chief district officers of flood affected districts to provide assistance to flood victims and transfer affected people to safer places.
The PM sent a condolence message to those families who lost their loved ones in the natural disaster.
The PM also urged all Nepalis to show solidarity in this hour of grief.
The Ministry of Home Affairs is focused on rescue and has centralised all its mechanisms such as Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and Nepali Army for that. “First and foremost, we are focused on saving lives,” said MoHA Spokesperson Dipak Kafle.
Talking to The Himalayan Times he added that the government would also focus on saving vital infrastructure such as highway bridges — the lifeline of the entire country. He said that the Gachhiya bridge of Itahari and Bagmati bridge in Sarlahi were vulnerable and the government had taken measures to save them from the rising level of water in those rivers.
Kafle also said adverse climate was obstructing rescue and relief operations. “It has not been possible to land helicopter in most of the affected areas,” he said. MoHA also issued warnings to people in vulnerable areas to go to safer places.
The ministry mentioned that Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Saptari, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Dang and Banke districts were affected by floods.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affair Krishna Bahadur Mahara tweeted: Requested government of India through the Ambassador in Kathmandu to open all gates of dams to prevent further damage by inundation in the Tarai.
A version of this article appears in print on August 13, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.
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