Locals Fear Flood, Landslide, Say Their Outcries Went Unheard

Fear has started to grip the locals across different parts of Sindhupalchowk since the monsoon season is commencing and they are yet again vulnerable to the damage by floods and landslides.
Geologists have also been warning that over 11,000 houses of 242 settlements across Sindhupalchowk are at high risk of flood and landslide. They had suggested the concerned authorities to relocate the settlements to safer places. Nevertheless, the three levels of the government – local, provincial and central – have done nothing yet to address the matter and prevent loss of lives and properties.
“There are 51 households in Listikot which is an area in Ward 1 of Bhotekoshi Rural Municipality. It lies above the Bhotekoshi River which cuts the settlement from below. Similarly, dry landslide keeps falling from hills around the settlement as well,” said Ram Krishna Kami, a local.
There are around 550 individuals like Ram Krishna who live in Listikot. The locals argue that their situation has been neglected by all the three tiers of government.
Some of the settlers have left the village following the fear of dying from landslide or flood; however, most remain as they have nowhere to go.
“Most of us neither have land in other places nor opportunities of earning outside. We live in fear of landslide as we can’t go anywhere leaving this place,” said 70-year-old Sanchamaya Bishwakarma as she pointed to the dry hills around.
Landslide victims including Ram Krishna BK, Rajkumar BK and Kishor BK, among others, had requested high-level officials such as Speaker of the House of Representatives Agni Prasad Sapkota and Former Bagmati Province Minister Arun Nepal as well as elected local representatives, district administration and political party leaders among others. But the locals’ outcries have remained unheard.
“None of the people we requested to took initiative to relocate our settlement to a safer place. We are now prone to face the terror of landslide again,” said Ram Krishna.
When questioned, Chief District Officer of Sindhupalchowk Arun Pokhrel about the government’s preparedness towards the risky settlements, he blamed the central government for the delay.
“The Disaster Authorities have not sent any policy or plan to relocate the settlement,” said Pokhrel.