Floods, landslides ravages western Nepal, 40 dead

This the photo of Kedarnath temple, Uttarakhanda, India (Photo : PTI)

Kathmandu, June 24: The government of Nepal said that the death toll from the floods and landslides in the Mid Western and Far Western Development Regions has reached 40.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, 17 people went missing in the flash floods triggered by the torrential rain falls in western Nepal. More damage was caused by the Mahakali River that flows down from Nepal-India border. The water levels in almost all rivers, including the Karnali, of this region rose high.

According to International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, the floods and landslides caused by the monsoon rains in Western Nepal and adjoining Uttarakhanda province of India on June 16 and 17 were the most severe in the last 50 years.

It said, the mountainous region received more than 150 mm rains in 24 hours causing massive floods and landslides. The water levels rose from 6.94 metres to 11.56 metres in Mahaklai river that caused most damages in Nepal and from 5.53 metres to 12.81 metres in the Karnali, the longest river of Nepal, said ICIMOD.

Over 137 houses, including government offices, were completely damaged, said the Ministry of Home Affairs in its press statement issued Monday. In Uttarakhada, India, some 1000 people including Nepalese pilgrims and workers were killed by the devastating floods.

It is estimated that over 100 died in India in the floods. Uttarakhanda province of India is a home to several important Hindu shrines and a large number of Hindus from across India and Nepal go to visit these shrines at this season of the year. But this year, the floods in the mountains not only killed the pilgrims but also caused damages to the holy shrines, including Kedarnath, one of the important pilgrimage sites.

About 20,000 youths of western Nepal have been there in search of jobs. Most of them carry the old pilgrims to the temples of the regions. This year, about 15,000 youths of western Nepal had renewed their work permits (license) there.

Over 50,000 were still missing in the floods in this province while the swollen rivers swept away houses, buildings and even entire villages, said AFP. Still 8000 pilgrims were waiting for rescue in different difficult areas there. However, the rains have created obstruction in the rescue works.

Many Nepalese too have reached the flood-hit Indian State of Uttarakhanda to search their missing ones.

Meanwhile, the World Bank Groups have blamed the climate change for the devastating floods in this region and warned that the people of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan would face severer climate conditions, like famine and floods in the days to come.

However, the governments of India and Nepal have not made any comment on the warning. A few development experts have blamed the rampant development activities in the mountains for the floods and landslides.

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