Heat, flood and landslides, making lives more difficult

Published On: July 23, 2018 02:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Rising temperature in part of our southern plains, flash flood, landslides and flood are all making people’s lives miserable. Daily reports of people dying and missing are filling newspaper headlines. Temperatures in some of the towns and cities in the Tarai have crossed 40 degree Celsius. In other words, monsoon is bring is lots of misery to the people. However, people do not feel the presence of the government as it has once again failed to deliver the basics: immediate relief to those affected people.  

A majority of our farmers rely on monsoon rain for plantation. Too much can do damage and too little rain means rice plantation will be severely affected. With joy to farmers, rain also brings in troubles in our lowlands. We have spent billions over the years in disaster preparedness and disaster management. Agencies across the federal, provincial and local governments work together to prepare for eventualities, but such coordination are hardly seen on the ground. What makes our state mechanism so ineffective and inept in the face of disaster? This needs to be seriously studied by the government. If such preparedness is not effective then we must change the way we do our work. 

Provincial and local governments have limited resources. They rely on the federal government to even carry out a small project. It is upon the government in Kathmandu to oversee the overall effectiveness of disaster preparedness projects and work on timely reviews. It is rather unfortunate that we write on the issue many times and nothing changes on the ground. 

PM KP Sharma Oli should understand that the people want results. Not some distant dreams that may never come true in this lifetime. People want to make sure their home is safe and that their farm is protected from flood and other calamities. And in case of emergency, people depend on the government for such support. Images pouring in from across the country paint a rather bleak picture of our disaster preparedness. Some villages are cut off from power lines and communication for days. Towns are submerged and rapid unplanned cities are haven for such disasters in the lack of proper roadways and drainage system. Our river systems have been badly manipulated which result in disastrous floods. 

The threat of climate change is real. Many of our water sources are drying up fast. Cities and towns with modest temperature are seeing mercury rising above levels we have never heard off. Yet, many of our projects blatantly ignore this reality and go ahead with project implementation without proper environmental studies. There is a lot to be done. But Oli’s government is lost somewhere, perhaps in transition. It should wake up and begin its work at the earliest. 

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