“Everywhere was flooded, everywhere you looked was water. An airplane was completely submerged, people were using tires and pieces of wood to float from place to place. There are so many people still missing. Thousands of houses were swept away…” -Babu Rai of the Biratnagar region, during his trip south to check on his family living in Eastern Nepal.

Many like Babu were witnesses to heavy rains that struck Southern Nepal last week, causing serious damage and displacing over 75,000 families. In the Terai region alone over 450,000 people have been affected by flooding and landslides.

The Ministry of Home Affairs released an official report that states that in the greater region of Southern Nepal an estimated 123 people have died and 35 people are missing. Even though numbers continue to be unreliable with limited access to the region, the death toll is expected to rise as the water recedes.

Flooding has been a constant issue in the low lying regions of Nepal, however an event as large scale as this hasn’t happened in over 60 years. Nepal police and non-government agencies have been working to bring relief to the area. There’s a specific concern related to getting clean resources like water and food into the region. In an official statement released to the public, the Office of the Resident Coordinator of Nepal informed local residents that, “Following the floods, there are significant concerns about the possibility of disease outbreaks, with affected people facing challenges in accessing adequate health care.”

“My friend called me and said, “Babu I’m starving, theres no food, theres no water, theres no money…” -Babu Rai’s friend living in the Terai. Farms, business, and homes have all been affected. “Crops worth tens of millions of dollars have been destroyed and nearly 70,000 livestock have perished. Additionally, over 500 industries, both large and small, have been shut down,” sites The Ministry of Agricultural Development.

Rebuilding will take time, but with the rain starting to cease and flood waters receding rescue efforts are prevailing. Many of the families affected by the flooding are taking shelter in schools and other public buildings. As a result education is being placed on hold.

Despite this natural disaster, there is still hope in rebuilding. The Nepalese living in the southern region are holding onto hope that they will eventually rebuild and continue farming and producing.

Report by: Ben Loecken