National

Rainstorm leaves 27 dead, more than 400 injured

  • Pheta Rural Municipality-1 of Bara district bore the brunt of the disaster with 16 deaths
- LAXMI SAH, BARA

Apr 2, 2019-

The death toll from the devastating windstorm that struck Bara and Parsa districts reached 27 as of Monday evening, while more than 400 people were injured and hundreds of families were rendered homeless.

The catastrophic storm struck on Sunday at around 7:15pm and tore through the two districts, lasting for minutes but leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Government officials said 26 people were killed in Bara while one succumbed to injuries in Parsa. Most of the deceased are the elderly, women and children, who died after being trapped in the rubble after their homes were destroyed.

Sixteen of the dead were from Pheta in Bara district alone, said Chief District Officer Rajesh Paudel. Ijahar Ansari of Pheta lost four family members. Four Indian workers died at a brick kiln in Kalaiya Sub-metropolitan City.

In Bara, the storm destroyed around 500 houses. Primarily thatched-roof mud homes and houses built by the government were destroyed. The mud homes collapsed under electricity poles and trees uprooted by the storm.

Rescue teams from the Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force were deployed overnight and continued rescue operations throughout Monday. Various political parties and surviving locals were also involved in rescue and relief works.

Officials said that the injured were being brought to hospitals in cars and ambulances, but fallen trees and poles, and upturned vehicles had blocked roads, hampering rescue operations.

A local sits guard atop his belongings after his house was swept by the rainstorm in Bhaluwahi. Post Photo: bhusan yadav

Hundreds of displaced people await relief as the rainstorm destroyed food grains, clothes, essentials and other valuables. Some victims have taken shelter with their relatives, neighbours and in public buildings. Local governmental units, with the support of various social organisations, have started public kitchens in various villages of the two districts to feed those affected.

“We have been coordinating with local representatives to make use of readily available resources for rescue and relief works,” said Paudel.

Provincial officials on Monday began a disaster relief fund under the chief minister’s office and appealed for help to provide immediate relief to victims.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who inspected the affected areas on Monday, said that the government would do everything it could to provide relief and rehabilitate the displaced. He visited hospitals in Kalaiya and Birgunj, inquiring about the health of the injured.

PM Oli postponed all scheduled programmes and flew to the affected areas to monitor relief efforts. Province 2 Chief Minister Lalbabu Raut and Province 3 Chief Minister Dor Mani Paudel too visited the storm-hit areas to take stock of the devastation.

Hospitals in both districts have been overwhelmed by hundreds of injured. More than 200 victims have been admitted. Hospital workers in the districts said that many of the victims were hungry because the rainstorm had hit just ahead of dinner time. Security personnel have been distributing tea and biscuits to those awaiting treatment.

One local lawmaker who visited the affected area described the scene as unlike anything he had ever seen before. “When I reached one of the villages at night,” said Paras Sah, a provincial lawmaker from Bara, “the roofs of almost all homes had blown away, walls had crumbled, and chairs and tables were lying all over the place.”

Published: 02-04-2019 08:11

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