News / Asia

India Fears Massive Flooding from Nepal Landslide

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel evacuate villagers at Supaul district in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, August 3, 2014.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel evacuate villagers at Supaul district in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, August 3, 2014.
Reuters

More than 400,000 people in eastern India face the risk of flooding after a landslide that killed at least nine people in neighboring Nepal, an Indian government official said on Sunday, as thousands were being evacuated.

The landslide triggered by heavy rains has left scores of people missing and has created a mud dam blocking the Sunkoshi river, which runs into India's Bihar state as the Kosi river.

The fear is that as Nepal tries to blast its way through the landslide to clear it, it will unleash a torrent of water across densely populated Bihar.

Around 425,000 people could be affected by the floods and authorities have already evacuated 44,000 across seven districts of Bihar, said Ashok Kumar, an officer at the state's disaster management unit.

“We are shifting people from the area where the water is expected to reach,” Kumar said. He added that 117 relief camps have been set up in the region so far.

Residents forced to leave

In some places the authorities have had to force people to leave their homes, said S.S. Guleria, deputy inspector general at the National Disaster Response Force.

“Many are unwilling to leave their homes, but we are trying to evacuate them by force, keeping in view the impending troubles,” Guleria said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Kathmandu to speed up negotiations on a power trade pact, has expressed concern over the situation in Bihar and said all possible assistance should be made available.

The home ministry said in a statement that while the amount of water that had flowed downstream so far was not alarming, the flow could increase suddenly at any time.

Indian government officials said on Saturday that water levels were already above the danger mark.

Nepal police spokesman, Ganesh K.C. said 150 people were still missing after the landslide that struck Sindhupalchowk district early on Saturday. Around 40 people were rescued, but the chances of finding more survivors were fading.

Gopal Prasad Parajuli, governor of Nepal's Sindhupalchowk, said further small earth slips had been recorded after the massive landslide, hampering rescue and search operations.

Controlled Blast

Army technicians were preparing to set off another controlled blast to drain more water off of the mud dam on Sunday. They carried out two such blasts on Saturday.

“We are very cautiously and slowly doing that to avoid sudden and big flow of water,” army spokesman Jagadish Pokharel said.

The Kosi river has been a problem for both India and Nepal after it broke its banks in 2008 and changed its course, submerging swaths of land, affecting more than 2 million people in Bihar and killing more than 500.

Monsoon rains are crucial for farm-dependent India and Nepal, but scores of people die every year in landslides and floods caused by heavy downpours.

Heavy rains in June last year inundated towns and villages and killed thousands in the Indian state of Uttarakhand and dozens more in the neighboring district of Darchula in west Nepal.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs