Kathmandu, Oct 21 (EFE).- The death toll from landslides and floods after torrential rains in Nepal crossed 100 on Thursday, the authorities said, as dozens of people remain missing in the Himalayan country.
“This is the highest casualty (due to heavy rains) on record in the month of October,” home ministry spokesperson Phanindra Mani Pokharel told EFE.
“The search and rescue are still underway in some mountain districts.”
The ministry said floods have inundated more than 2,200 houses and displaced 1,177 families.
Nearly 140 cattle have died in the disaster.
Ram Kamal Chaudhary, a farmer in Lumbini, was expecting a bumper harvest this year because of timely and regular monsoon rains and the availability of fertilizers.
But on Tuesday, heavy rains and gusty winds destroyed his standing paddy crop on 1.3 hectares of land.
“I was expecting a bumper crop in another few weeks. But, the rain has ruined it all,” Chaudhary told EFE.
Tens of thousands of farmers across the country are facing a grim situation.
Just as the paddy was ripening, the crop got damaged by untimely rainfall in October.
After excessive rain harmed the crops, farmers now face the daunting task of gathering their harvest.
Prakash Kumar Sanjel, the agricultural ministry spokesperson, told EFE that the preliminary estimates of the total losses in the sector, including the livestock, could hover around 10 billion Nepali rupees ($84 million).
“We are working on relief packages,” said Sanjel.
Economists say the destruction caused by unseasonal rainfalls that have triggered flooding and devastating landslides across the country may further ruin the coronavirus-battered economy.
The Asian Development Bank has cut its forecast for Nepal’s economic growth in the current fiscal year, ending mid-July 2022, to 4.1 percent, from 5.1 percent earlier.
The downward trend is mainly due to high Covid-19 infections and slowed growth in tourism and services.
“The country’s economic growth rate may further be shaved by 0.5 percent based on the preliminary losses,” economist Keshav Acharya told EFE.
Rains cause significant damage to life and property every year in Nepal and other countries in South Asia, especially during the monsoon period between June and September.
But the virulence of the rains after the monsoon on this occasion has shocked many.
Nepal is highly vulnerable to natural disasters.