At the request of the district government, in Sindhupalchowk, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has begun a joint engineering assessment of secondary rural roads that have been blocked by recent landslides. The assessment will help authorities understand what is required for repairs to take place.
Massive landslides last week have left much of the north of the district with limited or no road access, and this is disrupting deliveries of food and other emergency supplies in response to the 25 April earthquake.
“This district is one of the worst quake hit areas and the situation has been exacerbated by recent monsoon rains,” said Stephen Anderson, Emergency Coordinator for WFP in Nepal. “This assessment, which is complementary to the Government of Nepal’s ongoing reconstruction efforts,is a first step in repairing critical infrastructure needed to allow the free flow of commerce, services and relief supplies.”
“When we understand how bad the damage is to roads, bridges and other infrastructure, it will help the government and stakeholders appreciate the needs and gaps - and agree on who is best suited to undertake repairs.”
Although landslides occur every monsoon in Nepal, this year has seen extreme rock-fall events in the aftermath of the earthquakes. Many of those most in need of shelter, emergency food and other humanitarian items are in remote mountain villages, which are often difficult to access even at the best of times.
As a first step, WFP is surveying 70km of roads, including the road from Melamchi to Photang which serves the western section of the district, and the road from Reifi to Gumba. Both roads have been cut off or damaged by landslides. The surveys will complement government efforts to repair national highways and other roads in the district.
“We cannot distribute food from Charikot out,” said Michael Ryan, a WFP engineer. “This is creating a backlog in the supply chain, and slowing down food distribution. There is a critical need to support government efforts to open the roads – not just to deliver emergency supplies but also to connect communities to other services, such as schools and hospitals.”
According to a press release issued by WFP, Surveys are being undertaken with the district disaster relief committee. They are being conducted on foot, as all roads are inaccessible by vehicle.