Once again the monsoon has taken its toll on the lives of the poor in Kanchnapur district and rendered them helpless. At least 700 houses at Chandani VDC-7 in Kanchnapur are reported inundated by the flash flood from Mahakali river in the night of September 26. Almost 1500 locals are now homeless as the embankment in the Mahakali river crumbled and the water submerged the village. Property worth lakhs have been destroyed, telephone and transport services have been disrupted and electricity supply has been cut. A large number of security men have been mobilised for the rescue works. It is said that the locals are now taking shelter in India’s Bhaisibhoj jungle near the border. This is an unfortunate happening and the tragedy demands a more concerted national resolve. The situation requires large-scale relief and assistance operations. This is a time when all Nepalis including the political parties, government officials and members of civil society should shed their differences aside and join hands to help their fellowmen in distress.
The embankment was built by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) some 11 years ago. The locals have complained that the embankment had collapsed several times in the past and that the government is not taking the matter seriously. Flood has almost become an annual feature but the government departments concerned and hundreds of technocrats involved in the problem never seem to be getting on top of it. Though it is understandable that Nepal may not be able to afford a fully equipped technological set-up now for weather forecasting, it is a disgrace nevertheless that a sense of “preparedness” does not seem to be visible nor are the authorities as concerned as they ought to be although they know well in advance that this calamity surely befalls on the country every year. This is a sheer case of negligence and indifference. Safety measures in case of natural calamities should be one of the top government priorities. It is solely the government’s responsibility to aid the citizens in a crisis such as this. Also, it is high time the relevant flood control and disaster management agencies became extra alert and active. The government should take the initiative to mobilise resources and put in place a relief operation to deal with the situation in an effective fashion.