On October 7, Anita Kewat saw no escape and climbed onto the roof of her hut clutching her infant daughter. Flood waters from the Rapti River had begun to enter his village of Chaupheri in the rural municipality of Duduwa-2. The water was already up to his waist and would soon wash away his hut.
“Shortly after, the water reached the roof. I jumped in the water and swam to my neighbor’s roof with my daughter in tow. The next four days were miserable for us. We stayed on our neighbour’s roof, hungry and scared,” Kewat said. “I saw my whole colony gobbled up that night.”
Flood waters from the river had completely submerged Chaupheri and its neighboring villages by October. Villagers spent a week trying to find safe spaces, Kewat said. “Our houses were submerged by water. We had lost our cattle and every grain of the house.
According to Nakke Chai, a resident of Ramnagar, another village affected by the October floods, all the villagers climbed on trees, roofs or other high places to save their lives. “There was no food or drinking water for a week. It’s a miracle that we all survived,” Chai said.
According to the municipal office, about 500 households in Chaupheri and Ramnagar settlements in Ward 2 of Duduwa Rural Municipality were affected by the October floods.
These two villages have been facing flooding and flooding every year during the monsoon season for more than two decades now. “We have been living with the same problems since 1998-99. Floods affect every aspect of our lives, from the loss of fertile fields to our livestock,” Chai said.
The two villages experience power cuts and a shortage of drinking water with each monsoon. But even in the dry season, they don’t live comfortably, locals say. “Our children are out of school because there are none nearby and we succumb to minor illnesses and injuries without access to a hospital,” Chai said.
“Over the past 25 years, Chaupheri and Ramnagar have been flooded over 55 times. Several people also lost loved ones,” said Aagyaram Godiya, a 55-year-old man from Ramnagar. “During the 2014 monsoon, I escaped by climbing a tree. I stayed on that tree, starving, for three days. But it wasn’t easy even after the water drained, because all of our winter harvest was washed away. »
Residents say local authorities are aware of the difficulties faced by the two villages but have yet to help.
Sundarlal Loniya from Ramnagar says the floods are getting worse every year with an erratic monsoon. “We used to only tackle floods during the monsoon season, but in recent years even the pre- and post-monsoon seasons have become dangerous for those living here,” Loniya said.
An Indian-built embankment near the town of Holiya in Banke district controls the flow of the Rapti River and most locals blame the embankment for worsening the flooding situation in the area.
According to the report of the World Commission on Dams, the Lakshmanpur dam was constructed in violation of international law. However, since the political parties and leaders are not determined to solve the problem, the local population has had to suffer, says Loniya.
Like the rural municipality of Duduwa, several other places and towns are inundated each year by the floods of the Rapti River. Bethani, Holiya, Matehiya, Fatehpur and Gangapur have been facing floods every year for 29 years.
India’s Department of Water Resources and River Development and Nepal’s Department of Water Resources and Irrigation signed an agreement last June for the construction of a dyke along the Rapti River. A 35 km long concrete embankment and a 6 km earth embankment were to be built on either side of the Rapti but work has not yet started.
According to district chief Surya Bahadur Karki, the agreement stipulates that India would cover 10.44 billion rupees of the total cost, including technical follow-up, and Nepal would bear 1 billion rupees. “However, after four months of the agreement, the construction of the embankment is delayed in the absence of a final investigation into the flooding situation,” Khatri said. “The dams on the Rapti have become a geopolitical issue. It must be sorted at the highest level between the two countries. Until then, the suffering of the inhabitants will continue.
“There is no way for us to prevent such a catastrophe on our own. Higher authorities and related bodies have not given enough attention to this issue,” said Narendra Chaudhary, Chairman of Duduwa Rural Municipality.
“Even the help from the district disaster management committee is not enough to prevent flooding in the area. The municipal office does everything in its power to mitigate the disasters every year, but unless the higher authorities intervene, there is not much we can do.
. inaction government makes life miserable in two villages Banke subjects to floods