Nepal: Don’t just blame God for floods and landslides

Source(s)
Nepali Times - Himalmedia Private Limited

By Diya Rijal

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However, disaster management experts say many of the deadly landslides were triggered by haphazard road construction that disturbed the slopes and natural drainage, while in the plains floods have been made worse by poorly designed roads, urbanisation of floodplains, deforestation and sand extraction in the Chure, as well as embankment building across the border in India.

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After the 2017 flood, a study by Practical Action concluded: ‘The increased intensity of the flood impact was caused by improper drainage system in cities, cross-border embankment, and elevated roads in borders, causing more inundations in the Tarai.’

Co-author of that study, climate risk expert Madhab Uprety adds that this year saw 30% higher pre-monsoon precipitation in April-May. The top soil on mountain slopes were therefore already saturated when the main monsoons hit, making them more prone to landslides.

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Indeed, haphazard road construction without inputs from bio-engineers cause rock falls even in the dry season. When the rains come the entire slopes on which the roads are hurried dug by excavators are prone to failure. It is then the settlements and farm terraces below them where people are killed and farms destroyed.

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