Five missing, over 50 houses swept away in western Nepal

Kathmandu, June 17 (IANS) At least five people were missing and 65 families rendered homeless after floods and landslides, triggered by incessant rainfall over three days, hit the remote far western part of Nepal, officials said Monday.

Normal life was hit in some districts of the region after the swollen Mahakali river (known as Sharda in India) inundated homes, as well as sweeping away habitations and government offices and a hospital.

The worst hit was Khalanga, the headquarter of Darchula district, bordering India, where the swollen Mahakali swept away 53 houses including five government offices on Monday afternoon, said officials.

After the river created havoc in Darchula and other adjoining districts, the Nepali side had requested Indian authorities to release water from the barrage, said Darchula’s District Natural Disaster Chief Ram Hari Sharma. “The spill over is likely to cause havoc on the Indian side, therefore, they are also maintaining caution,” he said.

A woman was reported missing from Khalanga and at least 200 people were displaced after the Mahakali River swept away their homes. The adjoining districts of Baitadi and Kanchanpur and areas on the Nepal-India border have been put in high risk zone by the local administrations.

According to the Darchula police chief, Kuber Kathyat, the raging river has swept away five government offices, a small micro hydropower station and posed a threat to two more government offices.

He said a rescue team has been mobilized to relocate the victims and a flood warning issued. Three dozen people have been stranded in the middle of the flood-hit area and efforts are underway to rescue them, said the police.

Meanwhile, local media reported that the flood has put at risk a bridge over the Mahakali River joining Nepal and India. With the water level touching the bridge, its use has been stopped temporarily.

According to Brikha Bahadur Rawal, chief of Kanchanpur police, the water flow at Mahakali River was recorded 200,000 cusecs on Monday morning while it had crossed 450,000 cusecs in the afternoon, creating panic and havoc on both sides of the border.

Humla district of west Nepal was also severely affected by landslides triggered by the heavy rain from Sunday midnight, hitting settlements in the area which is considered as a remotest part of Nepal.

At least four people have been reported missing and over one dozen houses were damaged, said the local police.

According to the western Civil Aviation Office at Nepalgunj, the hub for almost all flights in the western part of Nepal, all flights have been put on hold due to heavy rain.

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