Landscape and snow-clad houses of Dolpa are seen in these pictures taken on Friday. Photos: Bishnu Prasad Devkota/Republica
DOLPA, Feb 8: As the entry of a new system of westerly winds impacted Nepal's weather, settlements located in higher altitudes of mountainous Dolpa district experienced snowfalls for the sixth time this year.
Most parts of the country have been experiencing rainfall since Wednesday evening. In Dolpa, upper settlements of various local units including Dolpo Buddha, Charkatangshong, Shey Phoksundo, and Kaike Rural Municipality received heavy snowfalls measuring between 2-4 feet.
Likewise, settlements including Majfal, Jufal, and Dunai of Thulibheri Municipality and Su, Ranga, Pahada, Liku, Cheu, Dapu of Tripurasundari Municipality among others also have snows measuring two to seven feet.
Along with Dolpa, hills and settlements in the northern part of Karnali Province located have also been blanketed with thick snow.
The weather phenomenon has brought lots of difficulties and hardships to the locals living in the affected areas. The temperature in the region has drastically plummeted down, affecting normalcy. Temperatures reached below zero degrees in upper and some lower regions of Dolpa.
Due to the chilly weather, various marketplaces in the region remained closed on Friday as well. Locals were barely able to step out of their house to run errands.
Despite these woes, farmers in Dolpa have expressed happiness with the snowfall stating that it is benefitting their winter crops. Farmers said winter crops like wheat, barley and naked barley require rains and snows for proper growth. The recent runs of snowfall has made them very excited.
“Rainfalls coupled with snow highly benefits crops and improves the yield,” said Susmita Bohora, a farmer from Tripurasundari Municipality-1. “Although it's very cold, we are happy to know that it will increase the farm yields this year,” she added.
According to Bhim Bahadur Dharala, chief of Agriculture Knowledge Center of Dolpa, 80 percent of farms in Dolpa lack a proper irrigation system. “In such a scenario, the sixth snowfall of this year is expected to aid in boosting the productivity of farms in the region.”
Along with the snow is also expected to aid in the growth of grass in the dry hills, which provide animals fresh grounds for grazing, he added.
Snowfalls obstruct flights
The incessant rain and snowfall have resulted in the closure of Dolpa's Jufal Airport, which is so far the only means of transportation connecting the very remote district to the rest of the country. Snow piled up at the airport grounds has obstructed flight schedule on Friday.
According to Bal Kumar Singh, chief of Jufal's Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), they cannot resume the service until the snow piled up at the airport melts and the weather improves.
“We have not noticed any improvement in the weather condition. Until the weather improves, we have no other choice than to keep the airport closed,” said the chief.
Neighboring border shut down
All transportations along Maure Bharbhare of Jagdula Rural Municipality and Bhalu Lake of Mudkechula, which lies in the border of Dolpa and Jumla districts, were halted due to the snowfall.
With the closure of the bordering road, all movements of people have come to grinding halt in the region. As a result, postal service in the district has also been obstructed, informed Jhakku Prasad Sharma, chief of District Post Office, Dolpa.
Incessant rains triggered landslides along the Tribeni Khadanga and Khadanga Tripurakot road sections of Jajarkot-Dolpa road. As a result, vehicles were able to operate on these road sections on Friday.
Due to the closing of both airways and roadways, people traveling to Nepalgunj of Banke and Surkhet from Dolpa have been stranded in their respective airport.
Rainfall damage mud houses
As some people in Dolpa still live inside their traditional mud houses, they are facing lots of problems due to the rains. The incessant rainfall has damages to such houses.
“Many households in our community have been affected by the rainfall. Rainwater has started seeping inside our houses from the roof which is mostly covered with mud,” said Amar Singh Kathayat of Thulivheri Municipality-9. “It is very difficult to live inside. I don't know what to do if the situation does not improve,” he added.