Nepal Floods June 2013

It’s easy to forget that Nepal has also been badly affected by the same floods that also hit north India earlier in June 2013. With the death toll in the Indian state of Uttarakhand surpassing 1,000 and many thousands more still stranded, it’s no surprise that the media has focused on the situation there.

But the floods that hit Uttarakhand so badly also caused disaster in the neighbouring state. An official statement of 20th June by Nepal’s Ministry of Home Affairs says at least 39 people have died and 18 were missing in the floods in Nepal.

The floods and ensuing disasters were triggered by torrential rains. The worst affected area is Nepal’s western border with Indian state of Uttarakhand. As with Uttarakhand, landslides have been a major problem since the torrential rain. Over 1,000 people have been left homeless and 100 houses and some government offices have been swept away by the raging flood waters of the Sarada river (known as the Mahakali river), in the Darchula area. The Dhauliganga river has also flooded.

Dhauliganga Dam
Locals in the Darchula District as well as Nepal media, have blamed the release of water from Dhauliganga Dam reservoir of the Dhauliganga hydroelectric project for floods. Indian authorities through a statement by the Indian Embassy in Nepal have refuted this claim and have stated that the flooding was because of heavy rainfall on the catchment side of the river, and not the Dhauliganga Dam.

The statment said:

“As the Dhauliganga Hydroelectric Power Station is a run-of-the-river project based on a small daily reservoir without any change in storage levels, the question of India releasing the dam water simply does not arise…

“The Dhauliganga Dam has no impact on monsoon related flooding in the downstream areas of India and Nepal”

Every year Nepal experiences disasters and deaths from flooding and landslides especially but not exclusively during the monsoon season. Last month 13 people died in floods in Nepal after fast-flowing floodwaters from the swollen Seti River smashed into two buildings and a number of other homes in Kharapani village near Mount Annapurna.

Sources: Fox; Wikipedia