Nepal floods: “I’m afraid that I will lose my child”

Ishwori Rana in the temporary shelter she had to move to after her home was flooded

Every time there’s a flood or the water level starts to rise, I’m afraid that I will lose my child again.

Ishwori Rana lives in the village of Rampur Tapu in the Bardiya district of Nepal. Bardiya is in the Terai, the agricultural belt that stretches across the country’s southern plains, and an area prone to flooding.

“We struggle every year during the monsoon,” says Ishwori. “During the flood in 2014, our whole village was swept away.”

I was six months pregnant. I survived because I held on to a tree to escape the flood waters. I survived, but my child did not.

Flooding from this year’s monsoon rains has affected 1.7 million people in Nepal, killing more than 150 and displacing thousands.

“This year’s flood was huge. It was late evening when we realised that the water level had risen and we started preparing ourselves,” says Ishwori.

“But the moment when I lost my child in 2014 is always replaying in my mind, like a recurring nightmare. Nowadays, I get scared every time it starts raining.”

The only thing that mattered to me at that moment was the need to save my children from any harm.

“I couldn’t sleep all night and was praying for the flood waters to subside. But it didn’t happen and we had to flee our house. I was ill with typhoid at that time and my child was also feverish.”

With flood waters reaching as high as two metres in some places, many people have sought shelter on roadside embankments or anywhere they can find higher ground. Others, like Ishwori and her family, have taken refuge in a temporary camp.

Ishwori Rana in temporary shelter
Ishwori in the temporary shelter she moved to after the recent floods

“It is very difficult to stay in camps, especially as a woman and a nursing mother,” says Ishwori.

When we arrived, we didn’t have anything with us. My child and I had to sleep on the cold floor.

Ishwori adds: “The flood water had damaged our crops so we had no food to eat.”

CARE is supporting flood-affected families like Ishwori’s with food, household items, hygiene kits, water purification tablets, mosquito nets, shelter materials and supplies for mothers of new-born babies. Ishwori says:

We are grateful to CARE for helping us. Our children would probably starved or fallen ill had we not been helped.

Story by Bisesh Sangat and Richa Uprety, CARE Nepal

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