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Friday, September 1, 2017

Flood devastation in Nepal 2017 ~ rhino swept miles to India and rescued

Chitwan National Park is the first national park in Nepal, established in 1973 and granted the status of a World Heritage Site in 1984. It covers an area of 932 km2 (360 sq mi) and is located in the subtropical Inner Terai lowlands of south-central Nepal in the districts of Nawalparasi, Parsa, Chitwan and Makwanpur. In altitude it ranges from about 100 m (330 ft) in the river valleys to 815 m (2,674 ft) in the Churia Hills.
Floods in Nepal ~ Guardian photo

Floods are among Earth's most common–and most destructive–natural hazards. The destruction that waters can bring is well known to Chennaites though there are no perennial rivers and no overflow of rain water in Chennai !  ~ there are in face only a few  places on Earth where people need not be concerned about flooding. Any place where rain falls is vulnerable, although rain is not the only impetus for flood.   Flooding is an overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry. Floods can happen during heavy rains, when ocean waves come on shore, when snow melts too fast, or when dams or levees break. Flooding may happen with only a few inches of water, or it may cover a house to the rooftop. They can occur quickly or over a long period and may last days, weeks, or longer. Floods are the most common and widespread of all weather-related natural disasters.

Flash floods are the most dangerous kind of floods, because they combine the destructive power of a flood with incredible speed and unpredictability. Flash floods occur when excessive water fills normally dry creeks or river beds along with currently flowing creeks and rivers, causing rapid rises of water in a short amount of time. They can happen with little or no warning.

Disaster experts classify floods according to their likelihood of occurring in a given time period. A hundred-year flood, for example, is an extremely large, destructive event that would theoretically be expected to happen only once every century. But this is a theoretical number. In reality, this classification means there is a one-percent chance that such a flood could happen in any given year. Over recent decades, possibly due to global climate change, hundred-year floods have been occurring worldwide with frightening regularity.

On the Himalayas in the beautiful kingdom of Nepal, devastating floods have caused havoc.  It has  killed 120 people and displaced tens of thousands and  have also destroyed the habitat of wild animals and swept away several endangered one-horned rhinos to India.Officials at Chitwan National Park, especially famous as the habitat of the Royal Bengal Tiger, one-horned rhinos and elephants, are preparing to bring back the endangered animals that were swept away to different places within Nepal and to India.

According to Nepal’s national news agency RSS, authorities have been searching for the missing rhinos for the past two days. One was found dead while a two-year-old rhino was detected in an Indian settlement and four more in jungles along the Nepal-India border.Chitwan National Park’s information officer, Nurendra Aryal, was quoted as saying that Nepalese authorities had located a two-year-old baby rhino at Bagaha, 42 km southeast of Balmiki Nagar in India, and were in touch with Indian officials to bring it back.

An  endangered one-horned rhino which was swept across the Nepalese border into India by flooding has been rescued and brought home.The young female rhino was found 42km (26 miles) from the Chitwan National Park in the Indian village of Bagah.Nepal's Chitwan Valley - home to the park which houses more than 600 rhinos - has been badly affected. Last week dozens of elephants and rafts were deployed to rescue nearly 500 people trapped in the area.

Of the fortunate survivor found miles away in India, a team of 40 Nepali officials were deployed to bring the two-and-a-half year old rhino home from India.However, officials had to face  difficulties in bringing back the animals from India as the highway on the Nepalese side has been cut off by flood waters."We were able to bring the baby rhino back with the support of Indian forestry officials," the park's Deputy Warden Nurendra Aryal told BBC Nepali.The rhino, found at a sugarcane farm in an Indian village, was tranquilised using a dart and brought back in a truck, he said.

Of the rhinos still missing, officials say two are inside the protected tiger conservation area in Valmikinagar in India, which borders the Chitwan district.Two others are in sugarcane fields in the nearby Nepali district of Nawalparsai. Another two-year-old rhino was found dead.   Mr Aryal said that the two rhinos in India would be rescued after the flooding subsided.

The monsoon season, which starts in June and ends in September, causes floods across the region each year.In India's Assam state, six rhinos are reported to have drowned after monsoon flooding at the Kaziranga National Park.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th Aug 2017.

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