Boat Tragedy: They Were On Way To Immunise Their Kids

The villages of Ranga Malekha and Bijaura Bazaar are not only located in two different rural municipalities but in two different districts. Ranga Malekha is in Ward No. 3 of Mohanyal Rural Municipality, Kailali district while Bijaura Bazaar is in Ward No. 4 of Chaukune Rural Municipality, Surkhet. But despite this administrative division, they are actually physically pretty close to each other, only separated by the river Karnali flowing between them.
Geographically, Ranga Malekha is more remote of the two. It lacks health and educational facilities and residents take a boat to Bijaura every day to access essential services.
This was what they were doing on Sunday as well. Ranga Malekha does not have a health post, so children there either have to be taken to the city of Sugarkhal or Bijaura for their vaccination. Sugarkhal is seven kilometres away and there are no public vehicles that travel from Ranga Malekha to the city. No surprise then that mothers chose to take their kids to Bijaura, which is just a short boat ride away, on Sunday. Who could have known that disaster was waiting for them on the river!
The boat that the mothers and children were on capsized in the middle of Karnali, killing one. This has plunged the entire Ranga Malekha village into mourning.
“A huge tragedy has occurred here,” said Ward No. 3 chair Nanda Ram Giri. “The people were only trying to get to the health post to get their kids immunised.”
There is a suspension bridge some two kilometres away from the village. Considering the swollen state of the river because of the monsoon rain, the villagers should have used the bridge to get across, Giri opined. “But the villagers thought taking a boat would be quicker than walking to the bridge,” he said.
On top of that, 10 people getting on a single boat when the waters were choppy was also a mistake, he stated.
According to the District Police Office, the capsized boat was carrying five women, one of whom was pregnant, and three children and was being steered by two drivers. One woman, 22-year-old Dhansara Salami Magar, died after sustaining serious injuries in the capsizal. 

Source : TRN,