Koshi Flood Disaster in Nepal04 September 2008
In eastern Nepal, the Koshi River erupted from its embankment and carved a channel of destruction. To date 107,200 people have been affected and 44,000 – 70,000 people are displaced by the country’s worst flooding in five decades. Over 9,000 hectares of rice paddy, sugar cane, corn and jute (used from making burlap) have been destroyed. In the Sunsari District, the VDC’s (village development committee) of Sripur, Haripur, and West Kusah were totally destroyed. The VDC’s of Laukahi and Narsingh were partially destroyed.
Heavy rains during monsoon season and lack of repair caused the embankment to collapse at mid-day Monday, August 18. People escaped with just the clothes they were wearing. The death toll would have been very high if the flood had occurred at night. Continuing rains keep the Koshi River above flood level.
Many roads are now under water and 15 kilometers of the East West highway are impassable and 3 kilometers are destroyed. Traveling to Kathmandu from the east is not possible and people must detour 32 hours into India. All commerce in the flooded area has been stopped.
Thirty-three camps for the displaced have been established. The largest camp is at Jamia Islamic Madarsa Bhokra – 9 in the Sunsari District. This camp is refuge for 5,000 displaced. There are 433 families in this camp sharing 200 tents. This camp is challenged with lack of sanitation (there are only 4 latrines) and lack of potable water. There is great concern for the nutrition of all, but especially 114 pregnant women, 155 babies breast-feeding and 31 handicapped.
At the Madarsa camp, Dilli Subba of NCM interviewed Islamia Miya. Islamia a man of 47 years, he lost 3 cows, 2 ox, 9 ducks, 15 chicken, 2 male buffalo and 3 goats. His 9 acres of rice paddy were totally destroyed along with 1,250 kg of rice, 600 kg of wheat and 56 kg of vegetables. Islamia was unable to rise from a straw mat, as he is experiencing excruciating abdominal pain.
Tahir Ansari, from west Kushah sleeps on the elevated road overlooking the remains of his house. The Koshi River is currently running through his house at a depth of 5 ft. He has lost 2 – 55 ga barrels of harvested rice, 1 barrel of wheat and 280 kg of jute. The flood has destroyed 3 acres of rice paddy on his land and 1 acre of rice paddy he planted as a sharecropper. Tahir’s family is in a displacement camp but he remains roadside protecting what is left of his home from thieves.
The government intends to consolidate the 33 camps into a large resettlement area. The land is roughly 20 acres and is located in the Singia VDC. The relocation is expected soon to relieve the schools of the displaced people. NCM-Nepal is currently developing a post relocation action plan to assist the recovery.
World Mission Director Dr. Louie E. Bustle said, ““Please join with me in lifting our brothers and sisters in prayer as they struggle through this disaster. We must continue to respond with love and compassion.”
Persons and churches wishing to contribute to the relief efforts can mark their checks “South Asia Flood Relief ACM1549” and send them to Global Treasury Services, 17001 Prairie Star Pkwy, Lenexa, KS 66220. In Canada, checks should be made payable and sent to the Church of the Nazarene Canada, 20 Regan Road, Unit 9, Brampton, Ontario L7A 1C3.