Twice hit by flood, Pithoragarh awaits attention

Thursday 27 June 2013

Over 1,000 people stranded in villages but relief and rescue operations focus only on pilgrim centres

The 100-year-old Jualjibi bridge that connects India with Nepal and allows trade in the area has been washed away by the Kaliganga river (photos by Soma Basu)

While most of the relief and rescue operations in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand is concentrated around Kedarnath, little attention has been paid to Pithoragarh district, which was hit by floods twice in recent days. An estimated 1,000 people are stranded in the area as roads connecting to different areas have collapsed during floods and landslides. Some of the roads were well-maintained and in good shape as they fall on the way to Kailash Mansarovar. 

There have not been many casualties in Madkot, Munsiari, Jualjibi and Dharchula, the worst-affected taluks in Pithoragarh district, but there has been great damage to land and property. The 100-year-old Jualjibi Bridge that connected India with Nepal and allowed trade in the area, was swept away by the Kailganga river—the Kaliganga and the Goriganga rivers originate in the Milam glacier. The glacial lake at the snout of the glacier is being blamed for the flood torrent.

Hunger stalks villages

On the Indian side, the river damaged 10 houses completely. People from remote villages walked up to 10 km to collect aid that was being distributed at a place between Dharchula and Jualjibi.

Askot village in Pithoragarh on way to Jualjibi taluk

They said floods occurred at 4 am on june 16 and damaged villages Ghattabagar, Koli, Mori and Lumti. The floods returned on June 22, and this time four villages, Talla Mankot, Malla Mankot, Talla Gharori and Malla Gharori were damaged. People in these remote areas do not store much ration in their houses as they shift to lower areas of Kumaon during harsh winter months. So, there is a constant fear that those who did not die of the calamity may die of hunger since these villages have been completely cut off for over 12 days now.

The state government has said it would take a week to restore connection with Pithoragarh. People say the government is showing step-motherly attitude to this area and that ministers have been focusing on Kedarnath and Uttarkashi. Incessant rains and bad weather prevent army choppers from landing in the area. Some private organisations are distributing relief on the Jualjibi-Madkot road, but these are being availed by people who did not suffer in the calamity; the affected people have not been able to reach this far.

The residents in the flood-affected areas live in constant fear of another flood. A group of local youth went up to check the glacial lake said there is a lot of water in it. It may overflow again if another cloudburst happens.




 

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  • Thanks for reporting on

    Thanks for reporting on Pithoragarh. We, Maitri (www.maitripune.net) have been in the area since 23rd June, working with local organisation Arpan. The situation is exactly, or worse than what you describe here. We ourselves have recorded more than 150 homes that were washed away, and many have become dangerous and will have to be abandoned. The risk of starvation is very real. But more serious are the long-term prospects of the affected people - will they get land to build a home on? Will they be able to farm again since their agricultural land has also been washed off?

    Government does not seem to be interested in providing relief, leave alone look into their long term rehabilitation.

    Vinita

    Posted by: Anonymous | 5 years ago | Reply
  • Nice to be visiting your blog again, it has been months for me. Well this article that i've been waited for so long. I need this article to complete my assignment in the college, and it has same topic with your article. Thanks, great share. ez flood restoration

    Posted by: Charlosjohn | 3 months ago | Reply
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