Last June, a flood in the Mahakali river – which marks a part of Nepal’s western border with India – swept away almost half of Khalanga Bazaar, a town that is the headquarters of Nepal’s Darchula district. The cause of the flood is still a debate. Most locals blame Indian officials, alleging that they opened the gates of the Dhauliganga dam upstream. This has been consistently denied by India. Nepal government officials have kept quiet.
With four months left until the next monsoon, residents of Darchula are afraid. They see very little river management work by the Nepal government, while India is rapidly building a dyke to keep floodwaters away from its banks.