More than 300,000 families affected
Incessant rainfall and floods have caused death and destruction in Southern Nepal. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), 143 people have been killed, 43 injured and 30 have gone missing in floods and landslides. The ministry estimates that nearly 80,000 houses have been completely destroyed and more than 144,000 houses partially damaged. More than 300,000 families are affected by the disaster. These numbers are expected to rise, as the full scale of the damage only becomes visible.
ACT member The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Nepal has been among the first to respond to the emergency. As of 20 August, the organization with support from the emergency hub in Kathmandu has developed an appeal and provided relief items to 600 households in Jhapa and Kailali, which are but two of the districts most affected.
The packet includes staple food like rice, noodles, cooking oil and iodinated salt, kitchen utensils, blankets and clothes. “We included Sarees (traditional women’s clothing) in the set to make sure that flood-affected women do not face additional discomforts due to lack of clothing”, LWF Nepal Regional Coordinator Rajendra Kumar Raut says.
LWF first aid organization in the village
The rural municipality of Jhapa is among the villages which have been affected: Five people have died and two are still unaccounted for. Hundreds of houses have been swept away and all the crops on the fields have been destroyed. Storage places for food were also flooded.
People have been desperately waiting for food, Jaya Narayan Shah, Chairperson of the Jhapa municipality says. “During that difficult time, LWF Nepal and its local partner, the “Social Network for Justice and Development” (SNJD) came to our village with the food and relief goods. They were the first to reach the village and provide aid.” 90 families had taken shelter in Tribhuwan Lower Secondary School in the village. Since LWF Nepal had been working in the area for years, aid workers could quickly estimate the needs and provide aid. Each family received 15 kg of rice, 2 litres of cooking oil and a packet of salt, which will last them for two weeks.
A similar situation presents itself in the Karobari village in the Gaurigunja municipality, Jhapa, which has been equally affected by the flood. The village in the remote part of the district is used to receiving aid and services late. “However, LWF was here with relief materials faster than the government”, Mr Adnu Prasad Rajbangshi, the village chairperson said.
Additional Support Required
In Karobari, LWF equally provided relief materials including cooking utensils and blankets to a total of 57 households. Food had already been provided by another partner. Similarly, 111 families who were partially affected and displaced in Kamalgachi village of the same rural municipality were given food and blankets.
The flooding is due to the seasonal monsoon rains. While the heavy rains also caused mudslides in the more mountainous parts of the country, they mostly affect the flat lands in the South, where the rivers flow and accumulate the water from the mountains.
All villages show a similar degree of destruction, Dr Prabin Manandhar, Country Director of LWF Nepal, says. “The majority of the houses in the villages are swept away, cattle and other livestock are dead and crops are destroyed. The people in the flood-affected areas are in dire need of additional humanitarian support”.
Considering the impact of the floods, LWF Nepal is already planning how to support the communities in recovering from the floods. Like after the earthquake in 2015, the team plans to help re-building houses and water and sanitation systems and to provide means of income to the families who have lost their livestock. They will also train the villagers in how to prepare for this kind of disaster, and provide psychosocial support.
LWF assists in Kailali and Jhapa, two of the ten most affected provinces.
Story by Umesh Pokharel, LWF Nepal. Edited by LWF Communications.