Normalcy returns to Sauraha

  • It may take some more time for tourists to return to famous jungle safari destination
- Bimal Khatiwada, SAURAHA

Aug 15, 2017-

Life is gradually coming back to normal in the famous tourist hub of Sauraha in Chitwan after water level, which had gone up due to incessant rain and floods, started subsiding. 

On Saturday night, water from flooded Rapti River and Budhi Rapti River had penetrated rooms of various hotels and lodges, creating havoc among tourists who were on a vacation. Since then, tourists are being rescued and evacuated.

Around 300 tourists were evacuated from the tourist hub on Monday. They were airlifted to Kathmandu on helicopters and airplanes, or sent to the capital via tourist buses and other vehicles. 

Following these evacuations, owners of hotels, lodges and restaurants are planning to take stock of damage caused by floods beginning Tuesday.

“Situation is now normal, as only some of the hotels and restaurants located on the bank of Rapti River are waterlogged,” Regional Hotel Association President Suman Ghimire said.

By Wednesday, most of the hotels, except those located on the bank of Rapti River, will resume operation, according to Ghimire. But it is not known whether tourists will return back to this destination famous for jungle safari anytime soon because it does not have electricity connection and roads are dotted with pot holes.

The entire Sauraha was inundated on Saturday evening after floods broke a dam on Rapti River. This swept away around six pubs and restaurants located on the bank of the river, while few were submerged by flood water.

“We didn’t expect something disastrous like this to happen,” said Balram Dahal, an operator of a restaurant located on the bank of Rapti River. But at around 10:30 pm on Saturday water suddenly gushed into his place. 

“Within 15 minutes water swept away everything. We couldn’t carry anything from the restaurant,” Dahal said, adding, “This triggered a loss of around Rs7 million.”

Apart from Dahal’s restaurant, Jungle Pub, Sunset View Restaurant, Central Beach Restaurant, Rapti Beach Restaurant and Rapti Restaurant were also swept away by flood water. “This has inflicted a loss of over Rs40 million,” Dahal said. 

The bank of Rapti River is a famous tourist site, where visitors would gather in the evening to watch the sunset. But flood has left a devastating sight and travel traders say it would take around three months for normalcy to restore in this area.

“The floods have also caused damage to ground floors of hotels and swimming pools,” said Ghimire.

Ganesh Poudel, promoter of Jungle Villa Resort, for instance, could not evacuate anything from six rooms located on the ground floor of this hotel. “Water level was rising every 10 minutes on Saturday evening,” he said. “This has damaged most of the furniture on the ground floor.”

Sauraha is home to around 110 hotels.

Published: 15-08-2017 08:32

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