Okhaldhunga, July 29
The cracks formed on the ground due to the devastating earthquakes last year and incessant rainfall have put hundreds of houses in over a dozen village development committees in Okhaldhunga at high risk of landslides.
Incessant rainfall following a prolonged drought has put at risk houses in Mamkha, Ratamate, Baruneshwor, Moli, Bigutar, Patle Sherna, Barnalu, Kuibhir, Betini, Khijichandeshwori, Palapu, and Katunje, and other VDCs, and Siddhicharan Municipality.
A landslide near the District Administration Office, Okhaldhunga about a week ago has obstructed direct transportation between Solukhumbu and Kathmandu via Okhaldhunga.
In Baruneshwor and Okhaldhunga VDCs, some 56 households of three villages are at high risk of landslides.
Over 50 families are staying put in their houses in Mamkha despite the threat of landslides, said local Saroj Rai.
“Landslides are very common in the district and dozens of houses are swept away every year. We have been living under constant fear,” said Dhanapati Khatiwada, a local of Bhadare, a village that lies on the border between Makha VDC-7 and 8.
Similarly, villages like Danepu of Baruneshwor, Bigutaksar and Dandagaun of Bigutar are on the verge of being wiped out due to the landslides. Earlier, a Dandagaun-based primary school had to be shifted to a safer location following a landslide this monsoon.
Though resettlement structures were built in the district about 13 years ago with support from the District Development Committee, the victims have been left to fend for themselves as the buildings are in a precarious condition. The victims have been demanding cultivable land along with their resettlement.
“The derelict resettlement buildings are not enough. People also need money to manage food for a day. The victims have no option but to stay put in the precarious buildings as they need to cultivate their land, which is the only way to support their family,” said Raj Kumar Rumdali of Moli-6.
Though Nepal Red Cross Society has been providing damage mitigation training to the people of Mamkha, Moli, Bigutar and Patle, among other landslide-prone areas, the training has been ineffective.
On his part, District Soil Conservation Officer Gangaram Sahu cited lack of budget to carry out works related to prevention and minimisation of risk.
District Natural Disaster Committee coordinator and Chief District Officer Ekdev Adhikari echoed Sahu, saying risk mitigation and prevention initiatives could not be effectively implemented due to lack of budget.
As per the data with the Red Cross Society, 28 of the total 56 VDCs in the district are at high risk of landslides.
462 families displaced in Pyuthan
Around 2,500 members of 462 families have been displaced by landslides triggered by the incessant rainfall at various places in Pyuthan.
Pyuthan police said the death toll from the landslide reached 38 till Friday. Of them, 18 were male, 20 male and 15 children, said police.
Meanwhile, landslide swept away six buildings, including that of Nepal Rastriya Primary School at Kaiya of Khawang VDC-9, in the district today, said VDC Secretary Pahalsingh Gharti.
Pyuthan DAO has provided the details of those displaced by the landslide at 13 different VDCs. CDO Janakraj Pant said they were having tough time distributing relief to the landslide affected families due to adverse weather and road obstructions due to landslides.
Landslide victims from Fopli could not get relief today also as the Nepali Army helicopter carrying relief materials could not land at Fopli due to adverse weather conditions. Relief materials have been kept at the headquarters under army’s surveillance.
More than 170 families have been displaced by the landslide in Fopli. Similarly, 113 families from Arkha VDC, 62 families of Punjas, 32 of Khawang, among others, have also been displaced by landslides.
A version of this article appears in print on July 30, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.
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