Less than two years ago, Man Bahadur Tamang was the proud owner of a homestead and farmland in this central Nepali village. But he lost all that he had in monster landslides that swept across the steep hillside wreaking havoc in its way and claiming 156 lives.
Triggered by heavy rainfall, the massive landslides on August 2, 2014, blocked the Sunkoshi river creating an artificial lake in Sindhupalchok district and ripped a five-km portion of the Arniko Highway — the main artery of goods and people flow to China.
Tamang lost all that he had in the landslides — his home as well as his farmland which was his sole means of earning a livelihood.
"From a proud owner of adequate farm land, I have now become a daily wage labourer to earn my livelihood and look after my small family," said Tamang, 63, carrying a bundle of locally grown bamboo from a nearby forest on the steep slope above.
He has built a temporary shelter near the road, not far away from his original homestead that was lost in the massive landslides.
The artificial lake crated by the devastating landslides blocking the Sunkoshi river’s flow submerged a hydro power plant and destroyed sections of the highway linking Nepal and China that cost the country $400,000 in trade revenue each day it remained closed for 45 days.
Downstream, it created panic and fear in Bihar after the Nepal government warned of floods if there was a sudden bursting of the artificial lake formed behind the dam.
Taking the threat seriously, the Bihar government sounded a flood alert in eight districts and started evacuating the people living along the Kosi’s embankments.
Such a disaster was neither new nor the last in the Kosi river basin. In the last 50 years, at least five such disasters have affected the basin.
"The killer landslides changed the natural river flow, the landscape and farm land, not to talk about our village," said 78-year-old villager Jeet Bahadur Tamang, who lost his home in the nearby village of Mankha and all his kin in the landslides.
Dozens of houses were either buried or smashed by the landslides in Mankha.
Tamang, along with several other families, has constructed tin and bamboo shelters and hopes that the government will build modest homes for them soon.
"The government is yet to construct homes for us and has neither provided money to survivors like us," said Lanka Lama, a young man whose family used to till its farmland for livelihood but lost everything in the landslides.
"I am working as a driver near Kathmandu and other male members of my family have also taken up jobs," said 22-year-old Lama.
According to experts of Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), nearly two kilometres of soil, mud and rock, which had become loosened by the heavy monsoon rains, detached from the hillside and slid downwards towards Jure. The debris wiped out large sections of the village.