Flood pains by Parwat Portel

Photo: Parwat portel/

Last week 100 houses were destroyed in Milanbasti and Sadakwari, Jhapa when Kankai river flooded, destroyed the embankment and swept the houses in the two villages.

Majority of houses destroyed belonged to the Santhal community, one of the most marginalized indigenous groups in Nepal. People saved their lives by climbing on the rooftop of their huts. “It was a dilemma–do we save the children first, or do we save our own lives,” says Ismail Soren, 55, of Milanbasti.

The displaced are now taking refuge at two local primary schools. Monsoon floods causing havoc in these areas is not new, it is a yearly occurrence. “Why did the government not take concrete steps to avoid damage when they were aware that the villages will be flooded,” asks Naresh Chamlagai, a local. There are many children amongst the displaced–they have been sleeping on mats placed on cold floors, they are forced to drink arsenic-laden underground water and there is no one around to monitor the health situation. “Children are falling ill, and the local government is nowhere to be seen,” says Soren.

Text and photos: Parwat Portel @photo.kvt7
Edit: Mallika Aryal @mikaness

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