Last Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014, 14:18 GMT

Nepal: Another 80,000 people displaced in west

Publisher Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Publication Date 24 September 2008
Cite as Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Nepal: Another 80,000 people displaced in west, 24 September 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48e085ebc.html [accessed 31 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

KATHMANDU, 24 September 2008 (IRIN) - Aid agencies are struggling to provide assistance to thousands of families displaced by flooding in western Nepal.

The Himalayan nation is still recovering from floods in the southeast last month which displaced thousands more.

Torrential rainfall on 19 September resulted in serious flooding and landslides in eight western districts, including areas in the Terai (fertile flatlands in south) and hill areas.

The affected districts are Bardiya, Banke, Dang, Dadeldhura, Kailali, Kanchanpur, Doti and Salyan districts of the far western and mid-western regions, Nepal's Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA), reported.

More than 26 people have been killed and scores more injured after heavy flooding displaced over 80,000 people, comprising some 16,000 families, the government said. However, access to the area and communication remained difficult.

Flooding in Kailali District destroyed part of the East-West Highway at Pahalmanpur, as well as telephone and electricity lines, the ministry said.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Kailali District, about 700km southwest of the capital, was the worst affected, with more than 8,900 families displaced in 19 Village Development Committees.

"It will take several days to repair the road and we are faced with heavy challenges to help the affected victims," local development officer and senior government official Bhojendra Chettri told IRIN from Kailali.

Water levels remained high and showed no sign of subsiding as monsoon rains continued, he said, noting it would take several days before some roads could be reopened.

Given the gravity of the flooding, the government is mobilising additional resources and relief equipment, including the security forces, to ensure those displaced are taken to safer areas with access to food, health and other basic services. Two Army helicopters are to be dispatched to the flood-affected areas, in particular Kailali and Kanchanpur.

Disease outbreaks under control

Any casualties reported so far have been due to drowning or landslides, according to aid workers.

There have been no reports of people dying of disease; however, precautionary measures were needed to avoid any possible outbreaks as the number of displaced remained high, said officials from the District Public Health Office (DPHO) in Kailali.

The displaced were being temporarily sheltered in several schools in the area or with relatives, but there was an urgent need to build temporary camps, they said.

"We are in the process of finding empty land to build the camps as families are living in difficult circumstances and there is a need to find them better shelter," said Chettri.

With road access remaining poor, bringing medicine to the affected areas was also a challenge.

Between 10 and 12 health camps have already been established to provide treatment and medication to a large number of the displaced, in particular children, left vulnerable to diarrhoea, acute respiratory and eye infections.

"A lot of medical attention is needed to make sure that we have enough buffer stocks of medicines. But we hope more supplies will be made regularly from the capital," added one local health official, who asked not to be identified.

According to the Nepal Red Cross Society, some 60,000 people remain displaced in the eastern districts of Sunsari and Saptari after the Koshi River burst its banks on 18 August.

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