Irreconcilable loss

Nature has been cruel to those in the remote regions of the far-western districts. Torrential rains have caused landslides and flash floods taking a tragic toll of many human lives. At least 34 people have died and thousands are displaced. The rains have wreaked havoc, and in the process causing bridges to collapse and roads to close cutting off the remote difficult to access regions. This has hampered rescue efforts and reports are pouring in of more casualties. The districts affected were Accham where 17 people died, and 12 in Dadeldhura. It is also reported that two persons died in Bajhang and one each in Doti, Baitadi and Kailali districts. There has been incessant rain for the past three days in these districts, and houses have been swept away and large swathes of farmland have been washed away and inundated. Many people in the affected areas have been moving to safer areas, while others are living in fear of possible imminent landslips. Many of the victims are from the same families which makes the tragedy even more heart-rending. Rescue teams are proceeding to these areas, but they are having difficulty reaching them because of further fear of landslips, and unfavourable weather conditions.

Nepalese are no stranger to this sort of calamity. Heavy rainfalls have continued to bring destruction almost every year. Despite knowing that those residing in the rugged hilly terrain, particularly those in the remote regions, are at risk little is being done to avert the casualties. This year the climate has been harsh. The monsoon has been delayed, and is still active. This is attributed to global warming and climate change. This has caused some unusual patterns in the weather. The country has

seen less rainfall than usual, and heavy rainfall

at this time of the year has caught many people unaware. The fragile Himalayan ecosystem is very

vulnerable to the effects of climate change as

seen from the damages caused this year in the

remote far western districts. Since in all probability the phenomenon of global warming and

climate change will continue to get worse in the foreseeable years, efforts should be on a war-footing to control activities that leads to CO2 emissions.

One of the causes for the landslips is the rapid deforestation that is taking place. The forest cover has been depleted to an alarming extent which is difficult to replenish. Therefore, there is need to promote afforestation campaigns and to preserve the forests that would help reduce the incidence of treacherous landslides and flooding, besides cleansing the carbon in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, there is a need for disaster preparedness. Those who are in danger

of being buried in houses and debris by landslides

or swept away by the floods should be moved to

safer areas. The rescue teams should be properly trained and also provided with adequate

food and medicines and other life saving paraphernalia. It is indeed sad that since after incessant downpours the country usually incurs disasters from landslips and floods loss of human lives are inevitable.

In any case, multi-pronged short as well as

long term strategies should be devised to reduce such untimely nature’s ways.

No sweet deal

If it was slaughtering animals and fowls during Dashain for many, the Festival of Lights comes with its own magic of all the sweetest stuffs, literally speaking. The sweet thoughts to satiate the appetite of the sweet tooth strikes the genuine barrier of the toxic chemical colouring agents used by many a sweetmeat manufacturer. Be it a small sweet shop or the big ones with hefty tags on every sweetmeat item, the chances, as reported, are more likely than not that one will encounter the carcinogenic and health hazardous colours of myriad mouth-watering mithai, without which one cannot think of pleasing Goddess Laxmi for prosperity in the year to come.

The legal provisions are there, a government department is there to do the needful, yet it seems more like impunity that the sweetwallahs go on relying on the harmful but cheap colours for the sweets, rather than a bit more expensive but healthy ones. The unscrupulous business motive is clear. Yet, if the government agency dons its mantle for real then no one can default the punishment as provisioned. It has to be sincerity both ways so that the consumers can taste the sweetness of health with glee during Tihar.