Monsoon rains that triggered floods and landslides have caused massive damage to Nepal's energy infrastructure, leaving almost half of the country reeling under power outages in what is the worst disaster to hit Nepal in nearly 10 years.
In a press conference on Sunday, officials said dozens of electrical installations including electricity poles, sub-stations and transmission stations were damaged across vast swathes of lowland in the country's eastern and central regions.
“Because of the damage caused by the rains, we haven’t been able to supply power to areas east of Biratnagar, (one of the largest cities in Nepal, 370 kilometers south east of capital Kathmandu),” Kulman Singh Ghising, the managing director of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the state utility, told journalists on Sunday. “It will take at least a week for us to restore power in the region.”
He said crews were assessing damage to a sub-station in Duhabi, one of the worst hit areas in eastern Nepal. The substation, a major supplier of power to the region, had been submerged in two-foot high flood waters, threatening its transformer, control panel and circuit breaker, Ghising said.
A cross border transmission line from India, which supplies over 200 megawatts of electricity to the energy-starved country, has also suffered losses.
The severe floods have forced authorities to shut down electricity services to customers in flood-stricken areas fearing electrocution. Tens of thousands of people have gone without power for the last four days.
A tower in the eastern hills of Chulachuli, which was among the network of the 132 kV power line, collapsed after the flood while another tower in the town of Hetauda tilted, the NEA said in a statement.
The lack of power has hurt thousands of survivors who have been unable to recharge their mobile phones, local media reported. While mobile communication has resumed, the landlines are still not working in several flood-hit areas, local newspaper The Kathmandu Post reported.
By Deepak Adhikari in Kathmandu, Nepal
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