Nepal: Nepal Flood Relief
300 Relief Packages Distributed: August 2017
August 31, 2017
Gaurav Pradhan, Pragya Gautam, and Deanna Boulard
Summary of Activities
Although it is a small, landlocked country, Nepal contains great geographical variety, ranging from some of the highest mountain peaks in the world to highlands, hills, and the plains of the Terai region. Nepal also has many lakes, streams, and rivers, which typically flood during the monsoon season (June–September). However, the monsoon rains of 2017 have been exceptionally heavy, triggering floods and landslides on a massive scale in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh and affecting an estimated 24 million people.
In Nepal, hundreds of villages were cut off from transportation, electricity, and communications, 90,000 homes have been destroyed, and 150 people have died. The United Nations has called it Nepal’s worst flooding in a decade. The country’s hilly districts have suffered from landslides, while the southern plains, Nepal’s primary agricultural area, have been most affected by flooding. The Terai region, in particular, has suffered greatly from the wrath of its rivers in districts Saptari, Rautahat, Mahottari, Siraha Bardiya, Sunsari, Banke, Chitwan, Morang, Sarlahi, Kailai, and Jhapa. Because these are mainly farming areas, along with the current difficulties in accessing food, shelter, and clean water, there is concern that the country may experience severe food shortages due to the destroyed crops. Affected populations are also at risk for waterborne and mosquito-borne diseases.
Real Medicine Foundation (RMF) has been active in Nepal since shortly after the April 2015 earthquake, and we continue to provide relief, medical, and educational support in several regions of the country. When RMF Nepal’s team saw the devastation caused by this year’s severe monsoon rains, they determined to provide relief to affected communities.
RMF decided to concentrate our flood relief efforts in the Rautahat District of the Terai region in southern Nepal, where NGO relief services had not yet been extended. Rautahat District is about 200 km from Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu, and is bordered by India to the south. The Bagmati and Lal Bakaiya rivers both flow through Rautahat District, and because of this year’s exceptionally heavy rainfall, the rivers have overflown their banks and flooded much of the area. The district is home to a large number of Muslim communities (a typically underserved minority group in Nepal), and most families are farmers who have lost their crops in the flooding.
Partnership with a Local NGO
Working Together to Bring Aid
To expedite the flood relief project, RMF has partnered with a local NGO (BHORE) from a nearby district. BHORE is assisting RMF with the distribution of relief packages and helping coordinate with the local government for necessary approvals and permits. BHORE also provided volunteers and collected names of the heads of households who received a relief package, ensuring that each family in the targeted communities received one relief package.
Meeting Immediate Needs
Providing Relief Packages
RMF will initially provide 300 relief packages to families affected by the floods, especially seeking out underserved and vulnerable communities in Rautahat District who have lost their houses, belongings, and in some cases, loved ones. After procuring all supplies, the relief packages were assembled by efficiently packing the planned amounts of each item in one of the buckets and sealing the bucket’s lid with adhesive tape.
Supporting Local Economy
Ensuring Maximum Use of Resources
Per RMF’s standard procedure, we are purchasing supplies in-country, which benefits the local economy and lowers cost, ensuring that our resources are used to the maximum effect. Because the market in Rautahat District is not large enough to provide the needed quantity of supplies, RMF Nepal’s team selected a local vendor in nearby Parsa District to purchase most supplies for the flood relief packages. The cost of each relief package is about NPR 3,000.00 (USD 29.00).
During the summer of 2017, severe monsoon rains caused extensive flooding and landslides in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh, affecting an estimated 24 million people. In Nepal, hundreds of villages were flooded, 90,000 homes have been destroyed, and 150 people have died. Along with the current difficulties in accessing food, shelter, and clean water, there is concern that the country may experience severe food shortages due to destroyed crops. Affected populations are also at risk for waterborne and mosquito-borne diseases.
Real Medicine Foundation (RMF) arrived in Nepal shortly after the April 2015 earthquake, and we continue to provide relief, medical, and educational support in several regions of the country. RMF Nepal’s flood relief efforts are concentrated in the southern district of Rautahat. We are partnering with a local NGO, BHORE, to provide flood relief to families most affected in the region.
- Provide flood relief packages to families most in need
- Establish and maintain strong coordination with local NGO and government
- Continue strategizing with our in-country team how to best serve those affected by the flooding
Click to enlarge
Distribution of Relief Packages
August 21, 2017
With the help of our partner NGO (BHORE) and some local political leaders, we were able to quickly obtain approval from the District Administration Office of Rautahat for the distribution of relief packages in three villages: Rajdevi, Hajminiya, and Badaharwa, all close by the Bagmati River and severely affected by the flooding. RMF, with support from BHORE, distributed 50 flood relief packages each in Rajdevi and Hajminiya and 200 packages in Badaharwa.
RMF was the first organization to respond to flooding in the region. We were very glad for the ability to respond quickly to the disaster; however, because we could only distribute relief packages in three VDCs (village development committees), we were often confronted en route by residents of other villages that we had to pass through to reach the targeted VDCs. These villages had also been affected by the flooding, but the three target VDCs (where we had received approval to distribute relief packages) had been severely affected and the residents displaced from their homes.
With help from the local police, we reached the temporary shelters in Badaharwa where flood victims were living. The temporary shelters were on top of a mud dam made to keep the river water from entering the fields and village. The community was living in temporary tents, which had been provided by the District Administration Office (DAO) after the floods. With the help of local villagers, we carried the relief packages to the local police station for distribution.
We were thankful to receive a visit from the Local District Officer (LDO) and Central District Officer (CDO) at the police station where we had stocked the relief packages. We showed the LDO and DCO what Real Medicine Foundation had put together in our relief packages, and they were very pleased with our efforts.