One among them is Hema Devi KC of Airighat in ward no 6 of the municipality. Due to the flood, the settlement, where KC had been residing for over four decades, has been submerged in this monsoon.
The 68-year-old shared, “We never experienced a flood in our settlement although the Mahakali River used to swell during the monsoon. This time the flood entered the settlement unexpectedly and displaced us. I have been sheltering in a makeshift tent for two days and am in a sorry state.”
According to her, the construction of an embankment in the Mahakali River in course of building a four-lane road alongside the River triggered the flood to enter their settlement that had never witnessed flood and inundation for a single time in 40 years.
KC grieved that nobody (authority concerned) had visited the inundated area and taken stock of their state since the incident. The daily wage earner further lamented, “We used to work as labourer. With the accommodation left inhabitable due to inundation, where do we stay and how do we feed ourselves?”
The water level in Bhujela River rose after it got blocked due to the embankments placed anywhere in the Mahakali River, according to KC.
The locals agree with her and add that those involved in the construction did not pay attention to making an outlet for the Bhujela River water which led to an unprecedented incident of flood and inundation in the settlement.
Pramod Bhatta, a local, ranted, “While the embankments were being built, we had warned that the River could swell or be blocked any moment. Nobody had paid heed to us back then. Now the whole settlement has been inundated.”
According to him, the water rose up to 2 feet from the surface of the land in their settlement. A total of 20 houses have been submerged.
Many of the survivors have been staying in their relatives’ places while some have been staying in open spaces under the makeshift tent. Some survivors have been relocated and housed in ward offices and nearest school premises.
“The flood entering our settlement has displaced us and has swept away our clothes and food items. Unless an appropriate outlet for Bhujhela River is not sought, we will be left stranded,” he wailed, adding he has not eaten anything since Sunday.
Ward chair of Bhimdutta Municipality ward no 12 Krishna Singh Deuba admitted that inundation occurred due to the construction of physical infrastructures in and around the Mahakali River without conducting proper environmental impact studies and researches.
The flood in the River has begun sweeping away the embankment nearby the bridge. The locals are worried that the monsoon could wreak more havoc on them as it has just started for over a week now.
Taula Rana, who lives by filtering aggregates and breaking stones into pebbles on the bank of the Mahakali River is anxious about how to earn his living and keep his family and himself alive as the flood has swept away all the food items stashed at his home.
Recounting the flood and the following sleepless night, he narrated: “Due to fear, we lost our sleep the moment we came to learn about the rising level of water in the Bhujela River and Mahakali River. Our settlement has been inundated on the onset of monsoon.”
“How can I fend off my family against natural disasters and on the top of it, against hunger?” he questioned worriedly.
The water level in the Mahakali River and Bhujela River has begun receding since the rain in hilly areas in the western part of the country stopped.
But the level of fear in the flood survivors has not subsided an inch. The destitute flood survivors are anxiously anticipating the presence of the local government and its positive intervention.