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Protests In Central Nepal Against Chinese Road Construction Firm

The protests came in after a week of the widespread flood in Nepal which damaged critical infrastructure.

KATHMANDU, Nepal — China Railway Construction Corporation, a Chinese firm based in Beijing working on a project in Nepal’s Sindhupalchok district, has witnessed people’s fury over the landslide incidents and damage to houses in the community.

People in the Himalayan nation protested against the Chinese company and demanded payment for damages faced by them. They blamed the company for causing severe environmental disasters causing landslides, and damaging houses at the location.

Last week, a widespread flood in Nepal damaged critical infrastructure. Officials said the excess rains had led to the rivers overflowing due to the suspected glacier burst, which resulted in widespread destruction.

“Reason behind this flash flood is attributed to heavy rainfall in upper lying areas,” said Rudra Prasad Dulal, Ward Chair of Sindhupalchok, ward 11.

“Shaken by the 2072 (Nepali date of 2015) earthquake, creeks on the inner areas of the hills are suspected to be swept by large masses of ice and muds. We are suspecting it to be a glacial outburst.”

He claimed that the movement of ice masses underneath the glaciers backed by incessant rainfall has run down the hill and dumped in the low-lying areas.

The China Railway Construction Corporation was involved in repair works at the Liping road in Sindhupalchok damaged in the Gorkha Earthquake of 2015 and the Bhote Koshi river floods the next year.

Several people, who have been displaced due to floods as they have lost their houses and properties, are in a state of shock. Once a brimming marketplace and center of attraction, Melamchi town remains submerged in a thick layer of mud, sand, and water after the flood. As per the official, about 200 houses in town have been damaged partially or entirely in the mayhem, which began with the onset of the monsoon.

“I just had returned from my field, when brother-in-law who resides in Dhap [a locality in Sindhupalchok] called me and warned me to flee to safer ground stating a river has been blocked from flowing due to landslide, which might burst and flood the town where we reside,” said Radhika Shrestha, one of the displaced due to flood.

“I called my husband, who was working in the field, to rush out from there. We ran to high edges without any second thoughts. As flood took away our land and all key documents, our family has to survive whether by doing labor or any other means.”

Hundreds of families in the area have taken shelter in a local school, located a few hundred meters away from the main market square.

As the blocked river made its way downhill, it has completely changed the lives of families living there as most of all people have lost all of their belongings in flood, compelling them to make a fresh start.

Nepal Army, along with Armed Police Force and the Nepal Police, had conducted rescue and search operations in the flood-ravaged area, which has continued to be submerged under a thick layer of mud and high flowing water.

One of the 2015 earthquake epicenters, Sindhupalchok, has been witnessing damages due to floods and landslides annually. With the onset of the monsoon in the Himalayan nation, incidents of floods and landslides are expected to rise further.

Almost 80 percent of the annual rain in Nepal is received during the monsoon (June-September). The average annual rainfall is 1600 millimeters, but it varies by eco-climatic zones (3,345 millimeters in Pokhara and below 300 millimeters in Mustang).

The Meteorological Forecasting Division has estimated the high mountainous region of Nepal to receive 55 to 65 percent rainfall (snow mainly) in 2021.

Additionally, the average rainfall is estimated to be anywhere between 35 and 45 percent in Lumbini, Gandaki, Bagmati, and in the western part of Province 2. At the same time, the Terai region of Province 1 and the eastern region of Province 2 are likely to receive less-than-average rainfall.

(With inputs from ANI)

(Edited by Amrita Das and Saptak Datta)

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