ACT Alliance Alert: Massive landslide in Sunkoshi river, Nepal

by Elisabeth Gouel | | ACT Alliance - Switzerland
Tuesday, 5 August 2014 09:44 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

ACT Alliance Alert   


Massive landslide in Sunkoshi river, Nepal

Geneva, 4 August 2014

1.    Brief description of the emergency and impact

At least eighteen persons have been killed, 17 injured and more than 155 are still  missing after a massive landslide blocked Sunkoshi River at Jure, Mankha Village Development Committee in Sindhupalchowk district 120 Kilometers east of Kathmandu. The death toll is expected to rise as many are feared to have gone missing in the landslide. The landslide that occurred at around 2 in  the morning of 1 August 2014, stopped the water flow and formed a large pool in the area. Local residents of Lamosangu, Balefi, Sukute, Khadi chour and Brabishe of Sindhupalchowk have already been evacuated to safer places.

104 Village Development Committees of Sindhupalchowk, Ramechhap, Okhaldhunga, Udayapur, Khotang, Bhojpur, Dhankutta, Sunsari and Sapatari districts are expected to be the worst affected in the event of a breach of the pool. Lives and livelihoods of the poor and oppressed families living downstream of the Jure landslide are threatened.
2.    Why is an ACT response needed?

ACT Nepal forum members are known as prominent humanitarian agencies in Nepal and often requested to assist government humanitarian responses following emergencies. Many of them are members of the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) and IASC clusters. Some of the districts downstream are part of the working districts of forum members and a response will be expected from them.   The Ministry of Home Affairs has also requested Disaster Preparedness Nepal (DPNet) to coordinate among its partners and expedite its humanitarian assistance.  

3.    National and international response

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) has declared an emergency on both sides of a 200 meter length (upstream -downstream) of the river and directed concerned authorities to open all 56 gates of the Koshi River Dam as a preparedness measure in case the landslide-blocked lake bursts.

The government has deployed a rescue team comprising over 500-700 security personnel and district teams for search and rescue, evacuation and early warning dissemination in the incident area and has already informed authorities in China and India and requested their technical assistance to deal with the developing situation.

4.    ACT Alliance response

In a meeting held on 4 August 2014, the ACT Nepal forum decided to participate in the initial joint rapid needs assessment team led by DPNET Nepal for 5 August. Given the very high risk to the people residing downstream in Nepal and in Bihar, India, it was also decided to issue an alert.

5.    Planned activities

ACT Nepal forum members are in close contact with Central Natural Disaster Relied Committee (CNDRC), District Disaster Relief Committee (DDRCs) and other national level networks including the Association of International NGOs (AIN), HCT and the IASC clusters.  Should the situation be further aggravated, ACT Nepal Forum members plan to assist the  severely affected and vulnerable families with life saving relief and recovery support.

ACT India members including DCA are participating in coordination meetings in India including in Bihar State in preparation should the waters be suddenly released and flood areas downstream.

6.    Constraints

Due to the continuous rains the relief operations are a challenge and evacuating people living downstream is necessary as smaller landslides are continuing in the disaster area.

Any funding indication or pledge should be communicated to Jean-Daniel Birmele, Director of Finance (