Flood Inundates Biratnagar Airport, Making Flights Uncertain

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Flood Inundates Biratnagar Airport, Making Flights Uncertain

October 21: Most of the areas of Morang district that fall in the Terai region have been flooded. Continuous rainfall since the last few days has caused inundation of many places including Biratnagar, where a 323 mm rainfall has been recorded.

As a consequence of heavy rainfall, the Basta River near Biratnagar Airport has been flooded; causing the water to seep into the airport’s runway. Now, the runway of Biratnagar airport is inundated with two feet of water. A total of 21 scheduled flights have been suspended from Wednesday for an indefinite period of time.

An engineer of Buddha Air informed New Business Age that the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) about the closure of airport. He further said that Buddha Air plans to bring back the airport later on Thursday if the situation improves but the company will not bring back any passengers.

The aircraft of Buddha Air and Shree Air had to be taken to a higher part of the airport towards the east after their wheels got submerged into the water. Dozens of houses in wards 4, 5, 12 and 16 of the metropolitan city, including the airport, have been submerged due to the flooding of Basta and Kesaliya rivers situated near the airport.

According to airport chief Utsav Raj Kharel, all flights scheduled for Wednesday have been suspended as one kilometer of the runway has been submerged into the flood water. Up to three feet high water has flooded all areas including the terminal building, immigration and VIP lounge of the airport.

Kharel informed that the last flights of Buddha and Shree Air could not take off on Tuesday evening due to the inundation. Kharel also stated that it is not certain when the flight will resume due to the prevalence of water on the runway.

Province 1 has been into darkness due to absence of electricity since Tuesday night. The electricity had been cut off after water got into a section of the NEA’s Duhabi grid. The NEA's Provincial Office No. 1 has informed that the work of removing water from the section of the grid is going on. The office has also informed that the power would be restored only after studying the extent of damage caused by the water and making all the necessary repairs.

The floods have compelled 1,000 families to be displaced in Biratnagar metropolitan city, said the metropolitan chief Bhim Parajuli. He said all of the families were kept in schools and public places.

According to Police Chief SP Jarnadan GC, 1,500 people from 565 families have been displaced by the floods in the district. The floods have affected Katahari, Jahada, Thanpalathan, Rangeli, Ratuwamai and Sunvarshi municipalities, including Biratnagar metropolitan city.


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