Forecast raises fear of rain-induced disasters in shaken districts

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jun 6, 2016-

With monsoon predicted to be normal this year, there is a heightened risk of landslide and other water induced disasters in the earthquake-affected districts.

Experts say water pouring inside the cracks and fissures created by the earthquake causes mudslides. Pre-monsoon activity since the first week of May has brought moderate to heavy rains, triggering landslides and flashfloods, killing over a dozen people and leaving at least six missing.

The seasonal rainfall is expected to be normal this year, said Rameshwar Dangal, chief of the disaster management division under the Ministry of Home Affairs. This will leave the earthquake-affected districts under a high risk of landslide. 

Although the government lacks clear data, a normal monsoon is expected to trigger landslides in many VDCs in Gorkha, Sindhupalchok, Dolakha and Nuwakot, which are among the districts hit hardest by the earthquakes last year.

A geological survey conducted by the National Seismological Centre (NSC) after the disaster had suggested relocating 193 villages from 33 districts. Dr Som Nath Sapkota of the NSC said they have again sent teams to 11 districts to assess the situation.

Monsoon last year, however, was not hazardous as it was feared, said Dr Sapkota. The landslides witnessed immediately after the earthquake were shallow in nature, dislodging mostly rocks and small chunks of land. 

A survey is essential this year too before the government comes up with any plans, he stressed.

Considering the gradual movement of south-easterly winds, monsoon rains from the Bay of Bengal in India are expected to hit the country by June 10. Shanti Kandel, a meteorologist at the Meteorological Forecasting Division, said that pre-monsoon season has been active across the country, particularly in the Far West, West and Centre due to the weakening effect of El Nino.

In India, monsoon has already been delayed by four to five days. This means the arrival of monsoon in Nepal’s eastern region will also be delayed.

The Home Ministry said it has asked its subordinate bodies to keep stocks of food and emergency supplies to be used in the event of a disaster.

The European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office said in its report last week that the UNOCHA and the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office in Nepal have updated the Emergency Preparedness Plan for monsoon. This includes a consolidation of critical mapping and baseline data required for any immediate response and operational planning.

Published: 06-06-2016 08:13

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