Floods

#NepalFloods2017 Day 5: Livestock, Agriculture, Wildlife

Floods that began on August 11, claiming human lives and livestock, damaging agriculture and infrastructure in large parts of the country, finally appear to be retreating five days later.  At least 111 people have died and 38 remain missing in 27 of Nepal’s 75 districts as a result of an active monsoon phase that brought moderate to heavy rains with cloudbursts, triggering deadly flash floods in the southern plains and landslides in mid-hills.

The Good News

“The water level in most river monitoring stations set up in major rivers across the country is either receding or is steady as of Tuesday,” said Rajendra Sharma, Chief of the Flood Forecasting Division under the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM).  Out of 30 river monitoring stations installed in major rivers across the country, Babai at Bhada Bridge in Bardia district is the only river recording water level above the warning level, but that has been receding as of Tuesday afternoon too.

Three out of the 30 river monitoring stations recorded rising water levels but below the warning level during the same period.

According to Sharma, Babai River where the water level reached a record high at 9.62 metres – a 3.52 metres leap from its danger level on Sunday, is the only serious flood threat now.

The water level in major rivers namely Koshi, Bagmati, Narayani, Karnali, and Mahakali is expected to be normal over the next 24 hours, DHM states. In addition, the water level in rivers and rivulets flowing in East Nepal is also expected to fall back to normal by Wednesday morning.

The monsoon is weakening across the country except in some parts of West Nepal where moderate rains could continue until Wednesday morning.

Rajendra Sharma, chief of the Flood Forecasting Division under the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology

Livestock Losses

Floodwaters since Friday evening have caused extensive damage to various sectors in 27 districts, mostly in the eastern and central Tarai districts.

 

In an initial report prepared by the Ministry of Livestock Development (MoLD), the livestock sector has incurred a loss of around Rs. 1 Billion as of Monday from deaths of livestock and damage to farms and other infrastructure.

Ramgadhwa village, near Birgunj.
Photo: Manish Paudel 

The loss is likely to be anywhere between two to three billion by the time the final damage assessment report is prepared.

Yubak Dhoj GC, Secretary, Ministry of Livestock Development

In an effort to reach out to affected farmers and livestock owners, the ministry has formed a 16 member Central Flood Relief and Rescue committee chaired by Secretary GC. The committee will further mobilise regional directorate sub-committees to oversee medical treatment of injured livestock, the proper management of dead livestock, and to coordinate compensation for flood victims.

Cattle find respite from the rain and floods in Kunaui, Saptari on August 14, 2017.
Photo: N.S. for ON

Advisory: Please note the Wildlife section after this section includes images of wildlife corpses that some may find disturbing.

Agricultural Losses

The preliminary damage assessment prepared by the Ministry of Agricultural Development states the agriculture sector has so far incurred a loss of Rs 2.86 billion in 31 districts as of Monday evening. The final estimation is expected to come any day, said Shankar Sapkota, Assistant Spokesperson with the ministry. Paddy, vegetables, and fish were the most affected products, he added.

An aerial view of flooded land in Dhanusha District, Nepal, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. Landslides and flooding triggered by heavy rain have killed dozens of people in southern Nepal and thousands are homeless, police said Sunday.
Photo: AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha

 

Floodwaters have inundated a major portion of paddy plantation areas in Tarai districts – Nepal’s breadbasket. According to the paddy plantation report from last week, 80 percent of paddy cultivation had been completed in the country. Of that, about 80 percent of the paddy cultivable land has been inundated.

Wildlife Losses

The worst floods witnessed in recent history have also wreaked damage on wildlife and its major habitats in Chitwan National Park (CNP) and some parts of Bardia National Park.

As per the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), a rhino calf from CNP was found dead in Triveni in Nawalparasi district after it drowned in the flood. Across the border, an adult rhino was rescued in Valmiki National Park in India.

 

 

Corpse of Rhino calf found in the Narayani river after the floods, this weekend.
Source: Aashma Silwal, Terai Flood 2017 Rhino

In addition, around 12 deer from CNP are reported dead. At least 20 blackbucks from the Blackbuck Conservation Area in Khairapur, Bardia are reported missing.

Corpse of deer found in the Narayani river after the floods.
Source: Aashma Silwal, Terai Flood 2017 Rhino

“Our first priority is safety of the staff and locals living in and around the protected areas,” Man Bahadur Khadka, Director General at DNPWC, told Onward Nepal. “Many parts of Chitwan National Park are still under water. We have not been able to mobilise our staff as security posts located inside the park have also also damaged.”