Floods and landslides triggered by torrential rains have killed 58 people and left thousands homeless across Nepal, officials said on Wednesday.
Home ministry spokesperson Yadav Prasad Koirala told Hindustan Times that scores of homes were destroyed by the floods and landslides since Monday.
Fourteen of the country’s 75 districts have been hit hardest by the flashfloods. In Pyuthan district, at least 24 people died and 20 more were reported missing, according to the home ministry.
Several bridges were swept away by flood waters. Thousands of people were displaced and hundreds of homes waterlogged after waters entered settlements in Kapilvastu, Parsa, Banke, Bardiya, Dang, Saptari, Morang and Jhapa districts, the home ministry said.
Thousands of people in the southern plains known as the Tarai or Madhesh were forced to spend the night under the open sky. The hill areas were affected by landslides while the plains, considered the agricultural basket of Nepal, were inundated by floodwaters.
Around 2,000 residents of Jhapa district were displaced and the swollen Mechi river swept away an embankment on the Indian side. Naksalbari, Panitanki and other Indian markets were waterlogged, police officials in Jhapa said.
In Saptari district, 300 families were living precariously after a sudden rise in the Koshi river. Around 1,200 people were cut off from the district headquarters.
The flow of Saptakoshi river crossed this year’s highest mark after continuous rainfall for the past 10 days. The flow of the river was measured at 277,410 cusecs on Wednesday morning, a new high for this year.
Thirty-seven of 56 floodgates were opened and sub-inspector Bhim Raj Thebe said the water level had been continuously rising.
Authorities have been unable to conduct timely search, rescue and rehabilitation work because of the lack of preparation, funds and a mechanism to cope with natural disasters.
A meeting chaired by home minister Bhim Rawal on Wednesday decided to seek Rs 750 million from the prime minister’s emergency relief fund to address the humanitarian crisis in the wake of floods, landslides and inundation.
The home ministry asked people affected by floods to remain vigilant to prevent the spread of diseases. It also decided to deploy medical teams in areas hit by floods and landslides.