Nepal: Locals living along the Mahakali worry of possible floods and landslides
By Manoj Badu
With monsoon just around the corner, locals living along the Mahakali river in Darchula district say they feel like they are sitting duck for possible floods and landslides in the area.
Although the region is prone to floods every monsoon, authorities haven’t done much in terms of disaster preparedness.
According to locals, the embankment walls in most of the areas along the river are weak and prone to breakage. Though embankment walls have been constructed to control erosion in dozens of areas, they are not strong enough to hold mega-floods, they say. Tara Singh Bhandari, a local man of Lali in Lekam Rural Municipality-3, said that the walls only have two to three layers of foundation. “If a mega-flood, like the one that occurred six years ago, occurs again, the embankment is going to give way to floodwaters,” said Bhandari, referring to the Mahakali floods six years ago, which swept away 56 homes and killed at least 12 people.
Officials of the Mahakali River Control Project claimed that they have already constructed 8 kilometres of embankment along the river bank. In Khalanga, the district headquarters of Darchula, the construction of 4,250 metres of permanent embankment has been completed so far. According to project officials, they are yet to complete construction of around 280 metres of embankment in Khalanga.