ACT Alliance Alert: Torrential rains submerge Southern Plain of Nepal

by Elisabeth Gouel | | ACT Alliance - Switzerland
Thursday, 21 August 2014 16:13 GMT

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



Torrential Rains Submerge Southern Plain of Nepal

Geneva, 21 August 2014

1.    Brief description of the emergency and impact

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the torrential rains of 14-15 August 2014 caused a series of massive floods in 17 districts of the mid and far Western region of Nepal, taking at least 89 lives and injuring 39 people. 128 people are reported to be missing. 428 houses have been completely damaged, while more than 5000 houses remain inundated leaving thousands of families displaced. These figures are expected to increase as data are still being gathered from the affected districts. Many bridges and culverts of the national highway and its feeder roads have been broken and some sections of these roads have been washed away. Local residents of village development committees and municipal areas of Udayapur, Saptari, Siraha, Rautahat, Makawanpur, Chitwan, Dang, Banke, Bardiya, Surkhet, Kailali and Kanchanpur districts have been evacuated to safer places.

According to the Meteorological Forecasting Division and Flood Forecasting Project, rainfall at the upstream of Karnali, Babai, West Rapti and Narayani river systems is above the warning level, and  above flood levels in Karnali at Chisapani, West Rapti at Kusam, and Narayani at Narayanghat. If this situation  remains the same or is further aggravated, the flood and landslide conditions may worsen.

2.    Why is an ACT response needed?

Many of the flood and landslide districts are within the operational area of ACT Alliance Nepal Forum members. ACT members are well known as a humanitarian agency in the area and are often requested to assist government humanitarian responses during emergencies. Poor and marginalised  families, and disaster affected families, are the primary target population of ACT Alliance Nepal Forum members, and these are the groups significantly affected by this flood and landslide. District humanitarian mechanisms in the affected areas expect humanitarian and recovery response from forum members.

3.    National and international response

The Government of Nepal mobilised all security forces including the Nepal army, Nepal police, the Armed Police Force and district mechanism to execute search and rescue operations, evacuations and disseminate warnings. The administration has asked locals to remain vigilant in the flood hit areas. District Disaster Relief Committee (DDRC) meetings in flood and landslide affected districts have decided to evacuate families from risk zones.

In order to provide food to the affected population, DDRCs, the District Chapter of Nepal Red Cross Society, local clubs and social organisations have distributed ready-to-eat food in some places.  The Association of International NGOs (including ACT Alliance members) organised an emergency meeting on 16 August in the presence of the Ministry of Home Affairs and UN agencies. The meeting concluded that there is an urgent need for ready-to-eat food, shelter, non-food items (NFIs), WASH and medical support. The government has requeted international communities to mobilise their resources at the earliest.

4.    ACT Alliance response

ACT Alliance Nepal forum members are assessing the situation in the affected districts and in close contact with Central Natural Disaster Relief Committee (CNDRC), District Disaster Relief Committee (DDRCs), Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) and Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) clusters. DanChurchAid has already mobilised DKK 600,000 to provide immediate relief to the affected population. Efforts are underway to mobilise more resources to assist the severely affected and vulnerable families with life-saving relief items and recovery programmes. The forum is also preparing a preliminary appeal. The immediate emergency needs among flood affected families include: basic and supplementary food rations, non-food items, emergency WASH, emergency shelter and other daily life necessities. The long term rehabilitation and reconstruction includes support for house construction, livelihood restoration, WASH and disaster risk reduction measures.

5.    Planned activities

An appeal is being prepared with the aim of providing immediate relief and recovery support to the worst affected and most marginalised families.
6.    Constraints

Due to the continuous rains the relief operations are challenged, and evacuating people living downstream is therefore necessary.

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