Sixteen million people are affected by severe flooding across Nepal, India, and Bangladesh, according to International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC).
The southern belt of Nepal has been the worst hit by the torrential rains, with at least 141 people reported dead and over 20 more still missing. Over 150,500 families have been displaced due to the floods and more than 336,000 have been affected. The flood is estimated to have destroyed almost 65,000 houses and damaged an additional 120,000 homes. There are urgent requests for food and water assistance from affected households. Alliance2015 partners Concern Worldwide (Ireland), People in Need (Czech Republic) and Welthungerhilfe (Germany) teams are in the most affected areas and providing aid to the vulnerable people.
The monsoon season is crucial for agricultural production, and a year with too little rain can spell disaster. But the summer rains also cause devastation each year, from landslides in the mountains to flooding in the plains. A large rainstorm on August 12, contributed over 70-80% of Nepal’s annual rainfall over the course of a few days, triggering landslides and floods across many of Nepal’s districts.
The flooding has affected many of the South Areas of Nepal where more people live and there is a greater concentration of poverty. Two districts, Rautahat and Saptari, were severely affected with 79% of the districts’ total population in need of assistance. Almost 15% of the flooding casualties were from these districts.
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Sundra Devi Mandal Khatwe (57) a single woman lost her home in Pauwa village of Saptari district.
“I was alone at home when the floodwater started coming in. The bamboo wall fell upon me and hurt me. Fortunately, my neighbours rescued me,” says Sundra. “The house was filled with water up to the waist so we stayed on roadsides. Most of the crops were destroyed by water and now there is no dry wood or clothing,” she adds.
When the flooding and landslides began Alliance2015 partners in Nepal immediately activated the Joint Emergency Preparedness Plan. Concern Worldwide, Welthungerhilfe, and People in Need, along with their local partners, deployed teams to Rautahat and Saptari.
“Thanks to our advance planning, Alliance partners were able to immediately dispatch emergency stocks to 250 affected households less than a week after the rains had stopped,” says Eileen Morrow, Country Director for Concern Worldwide. “But flooding has been extensive and many households are in need of urgent assistance.”
As the flood waters began to recede, Alliance2015 partners rapidly dispatched additional staff on the ground to expand their response.
“We decided to focus our relief efforts in these two districts because they have some of the highest rates of poverty in the country and have been among the most affected areas. Relief assistance has also been slow to reach these areas because flood waters destroyed bridges and covered roads,” says People in Need’s Country Director, Daniel Coyle.
The south, where the majority of Nepalis live, is also the country’s “rice bowl.” Initial estimates suggest a loss of 80% of agricultural productivity, a huge concern for food security across the country. Sita Devi (60) is among thousands of people who lost their crops storage when the water entered their houses.
“While we were returning back from the field, we found our house submerged in water. With the help of my son and daughter we managed to take out few belongings as the water was up to the waistline,” Sita describes. “Our livelihood is dependent on agriculture but this year the monsoon took it all away,” she adds.
“Because the flooding has destroyed crops, contaminated wells, and swept away household’s food supplies, there is an immediate and urgent need for food and clean drinking water. We are currently distributing 11,600 food kits and 10,000 water sanitation and hygiene kits to some of the most highly affected areas,” says Welthungerhilfe Country Director, Asja Hanano.
The coming days will no doubt reveal the full extent of the damage and the longer term needs of the affected population. The Alliance2015 partners will continue their close cooperation with local governments to ensure that none of the affected households are left behind as relief and recovery efforts continue to arrive.
For more information:
Eileen Morrow, Concern Worldwide Nepal Country Director, +977 9801 193 982
Asja Hanano, Welthungerhilfe Nepal Country Director, +977 9808 087 474
Daniel Coyle, People in Need Nepal Country Director, +977 9824 132 181