Home International UN to send envoy as Nepal flood toll crosses 50

UN to send envoy as Nepal flood toll crosses 50


Kathmandu : As the flood toll rose in Nepal with over 50 people dead and thousands marooned in the western region, the UN Thursday said it was sending a special envoy to announce a disaster reduction plan.

Margareta Wahlstr�m, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, will arrive in Kathmandu Tuesday for a three-day visit, accompanied by senior officials from the World Bank, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the United Nations Development Programme, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

The UN said Nepal is one of the most “at-risk” countries in the world where on an average, two persons die due to disasters every day.

“This week’s flooding in the western regions of Nepal further demonstrates the urgent need for action to reduce disaster risk,” the world body said in a statement. “The impact of long term global trends, such as climate change, will exacerbate recurrent floods, landslides, drought, melting glaciers and other natural disasters.”

Nepal, while ranked the 11th most at-risk country in vulnerability to earthquakes, is the 30th with respect to floods.

More then 50 people have died in three days’ torrential rains in the western region with Achham, a district that was among the hardest-hit during the Maoist insurgency, suffering the highest loss of human lives so far.

Floods and landslides have washed away parts of villages with survivors in many places still waiting for rescue perched on trees.

Nepal’s noted national park and forest in Bardiya district has been endangered by the flooded Karnali river.

Nearly two dozen security personnel stationed in the park were missing after the flood waters entered the park but restored contact Thursday.

Though the army and armed police forces have been deployed for rescue and relief operations, their efforts have been hampered by the rain and landslips which have made tracts of roads and highways inaccessible.

Wahlstrom is expected to announce a Disaster Risk Reduction initiative for Nepal that seeks to make schools and hospitals safer through structural and non-structural measures, enhance emergency preparedness and improve flood management in the Kosi river basin.