October Analysis: National Security and Climate Change

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The death toll from unseasonal rain and landslide reached 101 while 41 people are still missing. The erratic rain also caused damage to ready-to-harvest crops with the net loss expected to be around Nrs. 8.26 billion. The department of Water and Meteorology forecasted the rain, but the information did not reach the farmers. Similarly, due to the instances of increased illegal immigration to Nepal, Ministry of Home Affairs has urged the immigration department to tighten security and increase micro-surveillance in the border. Similarly, a clash between police personnel and land squatters in Motipur Industrial area has left four people dead.

Timeline of major events

Date Event
October 6Disaster risk reduction training was organized at Changunarayan municipality to safeguard its citizens from natural disasters such as earthquake and fire
October 8The UN Human Rights Council has recognized the access to a clean and healthy environment as a fundamental human right.
October 10Four people died and several sustained injuries as a result of a clash between police personnel and landless squatters at Motipur Industrial Area in Rupandehi district
October 11Following the clash in Motipur Industrial Area, three hundred Nepal Police and Armed Police Force Security personnel were deployed in the area
October 20 Biratnagar airport suspended all its flights after the airport runway was inundated by flood water following a heavy rainfall
October 25CIB arrested eleven Afghan nationals from Kathmandu on suspicion of entering the country illegally.
October 25After the increased cases of illegal immigration to Nepal, the immigration department has been directed to tighten security and increase micro-surveillance in the border. 
October 26To mark the 61 years of diplomatic relations between Nepal and Israel, the embassy of Israel in association with Shalom Club Nepal organized a tree plantation program in Rastriya Shahid Tatha Shanti Park.

Unseasonal Rainfall wreaks havoc throughout the country

The death toll from heavy rainfall and landslides in different parts of the country reached 101 while 41 people are still missing. The unseasonal rain which started in the third week of October also displaced hundreds of families. Due to rising water levels, 42 out of 56 gates of Koshi barrage were opened. The people living around the area have been warned to remain vigilant of the possible flooding risks. Furthermore, the rainfall also destroyed the paddy crops in several parts of the country.

A youth crosses the Ghamir River at Gulmi as there is no bridge to cross the river. Photo: RSS

The rain impacted the crops in several districts of Sudurpaschim, Lumbini, Karnali and Gandaki provinces. According to the estimates of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, the damages to the paddy crops could be around NRS 8.26 billion. The heavy losses in rice production could shave up to 0.6 percentage of GDP.  Apart from the damages to the paddy crops, the production of other vegetables has also been affected which has resulted in price hikes. The loss in the production of paddy crops could also see an increase in the prices of rice.

The department of Water and Meteorology had forecasted the post monsoon rainfall. The department has also highlighted that the post monsoon rainfall isn’t unprecedented after a monsoon with heavy precipitation. However, the information failed to reach the farmers because of which they had to incur heavy losses in crops damage.

Motipur Incident

A clash between police personnel and landless squatters at Motipur Industrial Area in Rupandehi district on October 10 resulted in the death of four people and several injuries. The District Administration Office (DAO) issued a curfew to prevent further altercations. Furthermore, around three hundred Nepal Police and Armed Police Force Security personnel were also deployed in the area on October 11 to intensify surveillance and maintain security. Following the incident, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has demanded the government to further investigate the matters and take legal actions against the responsible parties.

The government of Lumbini has announced a compensation of NRS 100,000 to the families of those killed in the incident and has agreed to bear the medical expenses of those injured. Similarly, the CM of Lumbini has also ordered the CDO of Rupandehi to form a task force to resolve the issues of squatters in the industrial area. This is not an isolated incident in the area. The dispute started in 2016 when government acquired the land to construct an industrial zone. Most of the families living in the area did not possess the ownership document for the land. This incident sheds the light on the issues of development and displacement in Nepal.

Illegal Immigration and Internal Security Threat

Eleven Afghan nationals were arrested from Kathmandu in suspicion of entering the country illegally on October 25. The officers from CIB arrested them from a house in Sinamangal after they received a tip that the individuals entered the country through India. Around five Afghan nationals also approached the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Office in Kathmandu seeking protection. On a separate case, three people were sent to the custody for further trial after they illegally smuggled the Rohingyas from Bangladesh by giving them an identity card to go to the US. Police captured 14 Rohingyas and handed them over to the immigration department.

Ministry of Home Affairs has questioned the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) decision to issue documents to illegal immigrants for temporary residency without coordination. After the increased cases of illegal immigration to Nepal, the immigration department has also been directed to tighten security and increase micro-surveillance in the border. Furthermore, the ministry has urged homeowners not to rent a house, room, or apartment to anyone without an identity card.

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