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August 2014 - Update from Nepal

In the first half of August this year heavy Monsoon rains have caused landslides and flooding in many areas of the country with many people dead and missing and properties swept away.

Due to a massive landslide in the early hours of August 2nd, the road linking Kathmandu with Kodari on the Nepal/Tibet border was destroyed for almost a kilometre and the landslide blocked the Sunkoshi river causing a backup of water forming a lake three kilometres long and further flooding and blocking the road and land and properties on each side of the valley. Three settlements were completely destroyed and more than 150 people were either found dead or were buried and proclaimed dead in later days.

The Nepal army were able to begin to try and open the blocked river the next day to try to prevent the possibility of the dam bursting and flooding the areas further down the valley with possible devastating results. The army were able to open some small channels using explosives and in subsequent days this continued and they airlifted two diggers which were reassembled and used to continue opening the landslide to allow the water to flow. The operation has had some success, and is progressing, but the threat of an outburst remains.

From the second week of August throughout many areas of the Terai, in the southern area of Nepal, and elsewhere, further heavy rain has caused many more landslides and flooding with more than a hundred deaths and injuries and thousands of houses demolished and people displaced. The response of the government and local authorities has been slow, which unfortunately is not unusual, and the local people continue to be affected in many ways. Local people and the Nepal Red Cross are beginning to get assistance to affected area but with the devastated rural communities and cut off roads throughout the country it remains difficult.

The instances of landslides and flooding are often experienced during the Monsoon Season (June-September) but this year it does appear to be particularly difficult.

Denis Gallagher
Nepal Trekking
August 201