Monday, April 1, 2019

Billions lost, dozens killed by rainstorm in Southern Nepal

At least 27 people were killed and more than 400 were injured in a severe wind and rainstorm that swept through two districts in southern Nepal yesterday evening.
Confirming the heavy rainstorm and windstorm in Bara and Parsa, chief district officer of Bara Rajesh Poudel said that the police and rescue personnel have been dispatched to the affected villages in Bara and Parsa. "But they could not reach the village due to heavy rain during the night," he said, adding that the office is coordinating with the local representatives to speed up the rescue operations. "Hospitals in both the districts have seen influx of the injured."
The local and provincial governments have been trying to reach the victims of the suspected tornado that has been witnessed in Nepal. "The trees have been uprooted due to heavy wind," the locals said, adding that they have not seen such devastating in their life. "The rainstorms hit just ahead of dinner time yesterday evening."
Most of the homes made from mud have collapsed as the electricity poles and trees fell on them, according to a local lawmaker, who visited the affected area. "I have not seen such devastation as the storm swept homes in the villages."
Though, the rescue teams from Nepal Police, Nepal Army and the Armed Police Force have been deployed overnight, the rough weather has been holding back the night vision helicopters to fly to the affected areas.
The provincial and federal government officials and ministers are preparing to fly to Province 2 to take stock of the rainstorm affected areas.
Likewise, losses to the agricultural, industrial and energy sectors are also expected to billions. Though, there has been no casualty reported from the industrial corridor of Bara and Parsa, industrial infrastructure has been destroyed. According to industrialists, the industrial corridors have seen huge loss of infrastructure as well as products.
According to vice-president of Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Anil Kumar Agrawal, most of the factories in the industrial area were damaged. "The windstorm blew away roofs of some industrial buildings damaging the products that were stored in buildings due to rain that followed the storm," he said, adding that almost all the industrial buildings have collapsed while roofs of a few remaining buildings were ripped away. "All the raw materials, machinery and other equipment have also been destroyed by the storm."
"Trishakti Cement, Kalash Cement and Bishwakarma Cement have witnessed major loss due to the storm."
The affected areas donot have power supply as all the electricity poles have been knocked down. "“The industrial area may have witnessed losses worth billions,” he said, adding that the actual loss can be calculated only after a few weeks when the situation normalise. "But the business fraternity has started distribution of relief materials despite their losses."
The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) estimated its losses to be around Rs150 million due to the damage to the electricity distribution system in Bara and Parsa districts. Around 2,000 electricity poles were knocked down by the powerful rainstorm.
The storm also damaged the 132 kV Parwanipur-Raxaul cross-border transmission line. Nepal has been importing 50 MW of electricity from India through the transmission line. The rainstorm also wrecked another 33 kV Birgunj-Raxaul cross-border transmission line that is being used to import 12 MW from the southern neighbour.
The storm damaged the 66 kV Parwanipur-Birgunj double-circuit line and the 33 kV Birgunj-Kalaiya line leading to a disruption in electricity supply in Birgunj city. According to the NEA, electricity supply from Kalaiya sub-station has been restored after maintenance.

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