Achham, August 21 (The Kathmandu Post) – At least 14 people were killed and 16 others went missing in floods and landslides in various districts of Sudurpaschim and Karnali provinces in the last 24 hours.
Achham, a hill district in Sudurpaschim Province, has been hit hardest as gushing floodwaters from Kailash Khola entered several settlements in Ramroshan Rural Municipality causing a massive human and property loss.
At least six people died in the disaster while 11 others are missing, according to the district police.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Yogendra Singh Thapa said four bodies were recovered from Koseda area in Darna of Bannigadi Jayagad Rural Municipality while two other bodies were found at Lamatna and Seri in Mangalsen Municipality. Search was underway for the missing people until late Wednesday afternoon.
The flood also swept away 22 houses in Saini Bazaar, a concrete bridge at Darna and nine suspension bridges in the area, according to Jhankar Saud, the chairman of Ramaroshan Rural Municipality.
An ambulance belonging to the local unit and five micro hydropower projects were also damaged in the disaster.
“The arable land on the banks of the Kailash stream has been swept away. Ramroshan Rural Municipality has suffered a huge damage. It is not clear how many families have been displaced. We have not yet completed assessing the damage,” said Saud.
An inspection team ,led by Chief District Officer Gokarna Prasad Upadhyay, also visited Saini Bazaar on Wednesday.
“A team of 200 security personnel has been mobilised for a search and rescue mission” said Upadhyay.
In Bajura, two persons died and two others sustained injuries in separate landslides at Khaptad Chhededaha-5 and Budhinanda Municipality-6 on Tuesday night.
According to Chief District Officer Krishna Gaire, a landslide at Budhinanda Municipality killed a 65-year-old Jhimu Lohar while a three-year-old died in another landslide at Khaptad Chhededaha Ward No 5.
Likewise, flood in the Dhupagadh stream damaged a drinking water project and three irrigation canals in Budhinanda Municipality Ward No 2.
Sristi Regmi, the deputy mayor of the municipality, said that the flood also damaged around 900 ropanis of paddy fields.
In Bajhang, a landslide in Bungal Municipality killed two children of the same family early on Wednesday morning, police said.
“Two children died and four other family members were injured in the landslide,” said DSP Ganesh Bam.
The locals claimed that the landslide was caused by haphazard development activities, mainly the construction of a cricket ground just above a settlement in Khollekdanda.
The cricket ground was completed three years ago, but the debris from the construction site had not been disposed of.
“A house was buried when a huge mound of construction debris was washed by rainwaters, killing two people,” said Jaya Dhami, a resident of Khollekdanda. “We had requested the municipality not to dump soil, sand and stones carelessly. It was a threat to the settlement below, but they did not listen to us.”
Fifty houses in the area are at high risk of landslides, said another local Suresh Kunwar.
Mayor Dhana Bahadur Bista, however, claimed that the landslide was not triggered by the construction of the cricket ground but due to the construction of a rural road to Luyati.
“The road construction obstructed the natural outlet of rivulets and caused the disaster. The municipality will provide compensation to the victims and take preventive measures to avoid such disasters in the future,” he said..
Floods and landslides also killed four people and led to the disappearance of five others in Kalikot, Dailekh and Surkhet districts of Karnali Province.
Four villagers of Rupsa in Naraharinath Rural Municipality Ward No. 5 in Kalikot district went missing after they were swept away by a flooded stream. The missing people had gone to Chauthe grassland to graze their cattle, according to the district police.
“Security personnel and locals are searching for the victims,” said DSP Shyambabu Oliya.
The rural municipality had suffered 11 deaths in landslides in July.
In Dailekh, a 12-year-old boy died while an 11-year-old went missing in a landslide in Thatikandh Rural Municipality Ward No. 4 on Wednesday.
“Four other people have sustained critical injuries in the disaster,” said DSP Hari Bahadur Oli.
Fifteen families who were at high risk of landslide were moved to a safer location.
Earlier on Tuesday night, a person was buried alive when his house collapsed after being hit by a landslide in Bhagwatimai Rural Municipality Ward No. 5.
In Surkhet, a two-year-old boy died when a rain-swollen local stream swept away a house in Simta Rural Municipality Ward No. 1 on Tuesday night. According to Kabindra KC, the chairman of the local unit, a woman and two children were injured in the incident.