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with Stefan Nestler

Got off lightly

The town of Beni on Kali Gandaki

The town of Beni on Kali Gandaki

That was close. On Sunday, a landslide (look at the video below) thundered down to the valley of Kali Gandaki and dammed the river, about 50 kilometers northwest of the Nepalese city of Pokhara. More than 20 houses were destroyed. A big flood wave threatened. Many people in the valley – as in Beni, a town of 20,000 inhabitants nine kilometers downriver – spent the night outside their homes. The largest hydropower plant in Nepal, about 40 kilometers south, was run down.

All flood gates were opened. When the waters finally flooded over the natural dam, the wave was lower than feared before.  According to the authorities, no one was hurt.

The devastating earthquake on 25 April, the second quake on 12 May and the numerous aftershocks have triggered many debris, mud, ice and snow avalanches. But the real „season“ for landslides is still to come, when monsoon will start in late May, early June and the rainfall will be increasing rapidly. 

90 percent destroyed houses in Dolakha

No good prospects for the people in the mountain regions of Nepal that were most affected by the quakes and aftershocks. Meanwhile, rescue teams were able to reach the area in Dolakha District where the epicentre of the 12 May quake was located. More than 90 percent of all houses there collapsed, they say. Bigu Gompa, one of the largest Buddhist nunneries in the country was almost completely destroyed. The good news: The 57 nuns survived and are doing well. Locals of 18 villages in Dolakha have demanded that the local authorities immediately should resettle them as they were living under a constant threat of landslides.

Education to resume

The school lessons in Nepal, which were suspended after the earthquake, should be resumed in temporary learning centers next Sunday. According to the Ministry of Education a total of 16,475 classrooms in 6,902 public schools were destroyed by the 25 April earthquake and its aftershocks. In addition, about 20,000 classrooms have suffered major or minor damage. “The relief phase is not over”, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) exactly one month after the 7,8 earthquake. “We are in a race against time to assist people before the monsoon.”




25. May 2015 | 13:28