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UPDATE THURSDAY, AUG. 28: Assessment teams in the areas affected by floods in Nepal have completed a report about livestock, structure and crop loss, and Heifer farmers lost more than 5,000 animals when the waters swept through the country last week, Heifer officials said Thursday. 

Dilip Bhandari, program manager for Heifer's Asia team, said 576 goats, 395 cows, 122 buffalo, 97 pigs and 4,268 chickens were killed when days of torrential monsoon rains swept through valleys and caused rivers in Midwestern Nepal to overflow their banks. Nearly 10,000 Heifer beneficiaries' homes were damaged while more than 4,500 were destroyed, he said. 

Damage to rice fields, corn and vegetable fields numbered in the thousands of acres, Bhandari said.

Initial financial support from Heifer International's disaster rehabilitation fund had started to reach the flood affected Wednesday. The funds will be used to mobilize immediate relief supplies for survivors of the floods while Heifer begins to focus on livestock and agricultural systems rehabilitation over the long-term.

Teams are still on the ground trying to account for the farmers that were not yet accounted for. More updates will be posted here soon. 

Please give so we can replace the livestock that are so critical to these farmers' livelihoods. 

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UPDATE WEDNESDAY, AUG. 27:
Initial financial support from Heifer International's disaster rehabilitation fund was starting to reach the flood affected areas of Nepal Wednesday, Heifer officials said.

The funds will be used to mobilize immediate relief supplies for survivors of the floods. While Heifer is not a disaster relief agency, in the event of a major disaster that exceeds a project community’s capacity to respond, like this one, Heifer partners with relief agencies and first-responders on the ground to support the efforts in communities where we work, with a focus on livestock and agricultural systems rehabilitation. 

Our role is to provide short-term provisional support—food, water and transportation—with an emphasis on helping Heifer project participants. Because so many project communities are located in areas sensitive to climatic events, we raise money for our disaster rehabilitation fund all year round.

Heifer headquarters has authorized funding of at least $50,000 for immediate relief from the Disaster Rehabilitation Fund, though that amount will likely increase as assessment teams provide more information. Plans for a long-term rehabilitation project are forming.

More than 50 Heifer beneficiaries were killed in the floods and many more are still missing.

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UPDATE SUNDAY, AUG. 24:
 Survivors of the devastating floods in Nepal are suffering from illnesses associated with polluted water, and the number of livestock killed by the deluge continues to climb, Heifer International officials said Sunday. 

Farmers killed by the flooding still stood at 55, and the figures for those missing were also unchanged at more than 100, said Dilip Bhandari, program manager for Heifer's Asia team.  The assessment team was still gathering information, he said.

Map of districts affected by floods
Heifer Nepal's Program map is highlighted with stars to show the areas affected by flooding. The five starred districts shaded in blue that sit farthest west is where the flooding is at its worst for Heifer farmers

So far, about 380 goats, 194 cows/buffalo, 19 pigs and 887 chickens were known to have died in the floods, and the number is still expected to increase, he said. 

In all, the flood hit four Heifer projects in Nepal and one in India. The assessment team is working to estimate the cost of rehabilitating the projects. The Nepal districts most affected are Banke, Bardiya, Surkhet, Dang and Sindhuli. In India, the floods were worst in Drabhanga district in Bihar state, where project families were evacuated but no lives or livestock were lost.

Help the farmers in Nepal and India recover from the devastating floods. 

Durga K.C., the assistant director of programs for Nepalgunj regional office who is leading disaster assessment team for Heifer in Nepal, said flood victims are ill with colds, fever, typhoid, cholera and diarrhea due to polluted water. "There is no clean drinking water because flood washed out almost all drinking water taps, wells and hand pumps," he said. 

"The flood-affected people are living under the various places like school buildings, community halls, community forestry users building, cooperative-collection centers and open spaces on the road and highland including neighbors' houses and cattle sheds," K.C. said.

"Victims are keeping their animals freely on the road, highlands and muddy/marsh land. A large numbers of livestock especially poultry, goats, cattle, pig, sheep and buffalo are lost. Similarly, dry foods/stored grain, seeds, utensils, clothes and beds are also lost. Almost all thatched roof houses, animal sheds, straw, hay, fodder and forage, and grazing lands are also destroyed.

"In areas across the Rapti River, roads, culverts, bridges, hume pipes and electricity poles are completely destroyed from the Rapti River flood, which has made mobility of people, animals and delivery of relief materials to the right time and right place is very difficult," he said.

K.C. said health services are being provided by district health offices, but they are understaffed and personnel are having difficulty reaching the affected areas, he said. 

Heifer Nepal field staff is coordinating with the district disaster management committees to facilitate mobilization of relief to farmers there. K.C. said some nonprofits have already mobilized relief like dry foods and non-food items. 

Heifer headquarters has authorized funding of at least $50,000 for immediate relief from the Disaster Rehabilitation Fund, though that amount will likely increase as assessment teams provide more information. Plans for a long-term rehabilitation project are forming.

Please consider donating so that farmers in Nepal can re-establish their livelihoods.

Nepal Flooding

Heifer has confirmed that at least 48 project partners have died due to heavy flooding in Nepal. Staff are also working to estimate numbers of livestock that were probably killed by floodwaters.


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UPDATE FRIDAY, AUG. 22: The number of Heifer project participants killed by flooding in Nepal has risen to 55, and survivors worry that continuing rain will cause more flooding, Heifer International officials said Friday.

Dilip Bhandari, program manager for Heifer's Asia team, also said that 123 beneficiaries are missing. Heifer International is tapping its disaster fund to stave off further property damage and loss of life, and to begin rebuilding.

Assessment teams who arrived in the affected districts Thursday reported that 14,000 houses were damaged or destroyed. That number jumped significantly from the 2,500 that was previously reported.

Bishnu Kumar Bamma, Heifer Nepal program officer who provided a firsthand account from Betahani, said the roads to the area were inundated and transportation has been cut off. The only relief to the area has been by the Nepal army, and anxieties are running high.

"People have been forced to make their journeys through waterways risking their lives. Due to the flooding of livestock sheds the livestock casualty rate is very high. A lot of our project beneficiaries have been complaining about fever and diarrhea," he said. "Most families are in a state of shock as they have nothing left of their own except the clothes they were wearing at the time of the flood.

"Families are moving, carrying their rug sacks, looking for food and a safe shelter to spend the night. Incidence of snake bites has been on the rise as they are being washed into villages along with the floodwaters. Overall the situation is overwhelming," he said. "We will need to move fast to prevent further loss in our communities." 

Bhandari said assessment crews are still trying to get official numbers on livestock that perished, but that they expect an increase from yesterday's count of 250 goats, 77 cows/buffalo, 17 pigs and 600 chickens.

"Despite losing their own houses, staff are participating in the assessment of damage," Bhandari said. He said the arrival of staff to the flooded areas "has given moral support to the flood-affected families."  

The Natural Resource Conservation Society, which is a Heifer project implementation partner in the Surkhet district, has arranged a health camp to address health and sanitation issues due to the floods, he said. Other project stakeholders are establishing support and are providing non-food relief supplies. 

Heifer headquarters has authorized funding of at least $50,000 for immediate relief from the Disaster Rehabilitation Fund, though that amount will likely increase as assessment teams provide more information. Plans for a long-term rehabilitation project are forming, Bhandari said.

While Heifer is not a disaster relief agency, in the event of a major disaster that exceeds a project community’s capacity to respond, like this one, Heifer partners with relief agencies and first-responders on the ground to support the efforts in communities where we work, with a focus on livestock and agricultural systems rehabilitation. Heifer Nepal field staff is coordinating with the district disaster management committees to facilitate mobilization of relief to farmers there. 

Our role is to provide short-term provisional support—food, water and transportation—with an emphasis on helping Heifer project participants.

And, because so many project communities are located in areas sensitive to climatic events, we raise money for our disaster rehabilitation fund all year round.

Please help ensure we have enough in our Disaster Rehabilitation Fund so that farmers in Nepal can start afresh with the resources they need to continue to improve their lives.

Heifer has confirmed that at least 48 project partners have died due to heavy flooding in Nepal. Staff are also working to estimate numbers of livestock that were probably killed by floodwaters.

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UPDATE THURSDAY, AUG. 21: Heifer International has continued to receive a steady stream of updates from the Heifer Nepal staff who are reporting that the number of project beneficiaries killed by flooding has risen from 37 to 48. 

A makeshift shelter in Nepal
Farmers whose homes were damaged or destroyed have set up makeshift shelters like this one.

Dilip Bhandari, program manager for the Asia program, said that another 100 farmers are still missing and more than 2,500 houses were destroyed or damaged. Bhandari said that thousands of acres of croplands have also been destroyed.

Bhandari said staff assessing the areas were reporting livestock deaths, but that the numbers were primitive.  

"About 250 goats, 77 cows/buffaloes, 17 pigs and 600 chickens have died based on today’s update, and the number will increase as the assessment team reaches out to the community and report back to us," he said. 

The assessment team is also working to estimate the cost of rehabilitating the project areas in the five districts of Banke, Bardiya, Surkhet, Dang and Sindhuli. 

Please consider helping the farming families of Nepal by donating to our Disaster Rehabilitation fund. 

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Heifer International officials have confirmed the death of at least 37 project beneficiaries from heavy flooding in Nepal. The news came Wednesday morning via conference call from the Nepal team just one day after the organization learned the rising waters affected five districts with project activity. 

"Unfortunately 37 project beneficiaries have died, [and] many more are missing," said Dilip Bhandari, program manager for the Asia team at Heifer headquarters. "Houses and crops [have been] destroyed. Five staff working under these projects were also affected as their houses were destroyed," he said. 

Bhandari said 25 of Nepal's 75 districts have been affected by flooding, with major impacts in four of those districts: Banke, Baridya, Surkhet and Dang. Those districts are located in the midwestern area of the Asian nation and are home to four major Heifer projects. The projects affected are:

Pierre Ferrari, Heifer's chief executive officer, said all of Heifer was thinking about Nepal during this time and promised to provide help.  

“Our hearts and thoughts are with our colleagues, partners and participants in Nepal," he said. "We are saddened at the loss of lives, homes and livestock. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide relief to our project communities as soon as we are able."

Sumnima Shrestha, communication and resource mobilization manger for Heifer Nepal reported to headquarters staff on Tuesday that project areas had been inundated by the floodwaters. The flooding is a result of the combination of days of incessant rains and rivers overflowing their banks. The deluge has also caused landslides in the country. 

The Home Ministry in Nepal said the landslides and flooding have killed at least 269 people and injured 86 others. More than 127 people are missing and the waters have displaced more than 20,000.

Bhandari said the Nepal staff is in the process of collecting more information on the number of livestock that could have been swept away or killed.

"Information related to death of animals and destruction of crops and fodder/forage cultivated by Heifer beneficiaries is yet to come," he said. 

The five staff had their homes either swept away or damaged by water and mud. 

While Heifer is not a relief organization, we do work to train farmers to mitigate the effects of disaster. We also work to supplement the work of relief organizations to help our farmers recover. Please help our farmers by donating to the Disaster Rehabilitation Fund that sets aside money for these kinds of situations. 

 

Author

Annie Bergman

Bergman is a Global Communications Manager for Heifer and helps plan, assign and develop content for the nonprofit’s website, magazine and blog. Bergman has interviewed survivors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, beekeepers in Honduras, women’s groups in India and war widows in Kosovo in her six years at Heifer. Bergman received her bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma and a master’s degree in Australian Aboriginal Studies from the University of Melbourne in Australia. Her hobbies include hiking, golfing, cooking, reading and walking her dogs.