MPs tell govt to act immediately

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jul 2, 2016-

Lawmakers on Friday drew the government attention to the increasing cases of landslides affecting lives and settlements in the 11 districts that were most affected by the earthquake last year. 

Speaking in Parliament on Friday, lawmakers from different parties said that many human settlements in the quake-hit districts are at high risk due to incessant rainfall for the last couple 

of days. 

Weathermen have forecast more rains in coming days. 

Hit Raj Pandey, chief whip of the CPN (Maoist Centre), a key coalition partner, said the government had failed to do anything substantial to relocate the settlements that are prone to landslides despite lawmakers’ recommendation. “We had suggested that the government relocate at least five VDCs of Gorkha alone,” said Pandey.

A preliminary report prepared by the government based on the rapid assessment of the 117 areas had found that at least 419 human settlements were vulnerable to landslides in 11 districts, including Gorkha, Dhading, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchok, Ramechhap, Dolakha and Nuwakot, that were worst affected by the quake.

However, none of the high-risk settlements has been relocated to safer places even 15 months after the earthquake.  “We already knew that many settlements in the earthquake-hit districts were vulnerable to landslides, but nothing was done in the last 15 months to relocate them,” said Chin Kaji Shrestha, chip whip of the Nepali Congress. The lawmakers have demanded immediate relocation of the settlements and adequate fund for rescue, relief and resettlement.

Meanwhile, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) shared its assessment report with the State Affairs Committee (SAC) of Parliament on Friday. 

This year’s monsoon that entered Nepal on June 15 is expected to be normal, bringing moderate to heavy rains in many places, risking the vulnerable settlements to landslides from existing fissures and cracks on land surfaces and slopes, according to the ICIMOD assessment report. Though there were incidents of rivers dammed by landslides after the earthquake, like the one in Kali Gandaki River, none of them were catastrophic, said the report. “It was very fortunate that there was no any big Glacial Lakes Outbursts Floods due to the earthquake and aftershocks, though the potential risks from the same magnitude earthquake in the future cannot be ignored,” said Arun Shrestha, regional programme manager at the ICIMOD. 

Published: 02-07-2016 08:55

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