People sitting around fire in Birgunj on Wednesday morning.
BIRATNAGAR, Jan 4: Since the last two days, westerly winds have caused dense fog in the tarai districts crippling lives of the common people. Schools, shops and markets have been closed in major areas due to the unbearable cold.
Temperature is continuously dipping in Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari of Province 1 and Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusha and Mahottari of Province 2.
According to meteorologists, there is a huge gap between the maximum and minimum temperatures, which has led to heavy blanket of fog. The maximum temperature in Biratnagar was 27 degrees Celsius while the minimum temperature was 8 degrees Celsius on Tuesday.
Meteorologists have predicted the temperature to fall until Thursday. As the smog affected visibility, flights have been disrupted in Bhadrapur Airport of Jhapa and Biratnagar Airport of Morang. Dense layer of haze blanketing over the sky has also cancelled flights in Janakpur.
According to Sureshman Singh, chief of Biratnagar Airport, flights have been obstructed especially during mornings and evenings due to low visibility.
The cold wave has emptied the streets. People are found basking around bonfire to keep them warm. People of the poor and marginalized communities have urged the government to provide warm clothes and timber to prevent cold. Firewood has been the only source for them to escape cold.
With the objective of protecting the children from chilling cold, the District Disaster Relief Committee (DDRC) made a sudden announcement to shut down schools for two weeks from Wednesday.
Flood victims living in settlements in Janapurdham Sub-Metropolitan and various other parts of the tarai have been worst hit by the dipping temperature.
Being unable to bear the biting cold, students started boycotting their classes even before the announcement of the winter vacations. Bhola Prasad Khatiwada, principal of Gauriganj Rural Municipality-1, Mahavara informed that the students belonging to the poor families lack warm clothes due to which they have to miss their classes in winter.
Children and elderly people have been most affected by the cold wave. The number of patients complaining about common cold, pneumonia among others has increased significantly at the District Hospital, Mahottari. As per the doctors, around 10 to 15 patients regularly visit the hospital complaining about such problems. Not just that, the cold wave is also expected to affect crop and vegetables.