Preparedness factor

The incessant rainfall in several parts of the country has inundated large tracts of land and flooded many settlements. This has not only destroyed food crops but also houses and other infrastructure. The damage from these floods is yet to be ascertained and help has yet to reach many of the victims. About a year ago the Koshi River had broken its embankment and caused havoc leaving thousands homeless. The rescue efforts took a long time in reaching them, and even now many of the victims have not received compensation for their loss and are living in makeshift camps. As the nation is vulnerable to natural calamities like floods and landslides which

frequently occur during the rainy season, there should be provisions to mitigate the sufferings of the people affected. Many lose their lives during

the floods and landslides because the rescue

teams are unable to reach them on time. The

only way is for the victims to be shifted to a safer place. The Terai is particularly susceptible to

floods and every year these cause heavy losses.

Since most of the floods are caused by swollen rivers, a long term strategy should be developed in order to control the rivers. No doubt, this would entail much expense and would be time consuming and something that is beyond the ability of the nation, but the development planners should seriously consider managing the rivers, and, for this, foreign assistance and technology could be solicited. Many countries have succeeded in doing so and, in doing so, have saved many lives besides averting disasters. The deteriorating environment is also responsible for floods and landslides. Rapid deforestation is an important factor causing these. Floods have washed away thousands

of hectares of arable land causing an irreparable

loss. Therefore, it is essential to carry out conservation campaigns if we are to avoid such natural calamities that are striking the nation unremittingly. It would be worth putting all the efforts necessary

in order to implement strategies of river control

and build the needed dams and embankments,

and afforestation campaigns so that the floods would not cause such heavy damage.

Meanwhile, what is glaring now is that the authorities are ill-prepared to provide immediate relief to the flood victims. Because of this, the victims often lack proper shelter and clean drinking water and food stuffs. Since water borne diseases are common in the aftermath of floods, the rescue teams should also carry medicines. Moreover, such teams should reach the victims without any delay. These teams should be on the standby so as to rescue the victims. Preferably, the rivers should be constantly monitored so that as soon as they pose a danger to the people residing in the vicinity they can be evacuated out of harm’s way. Since many of the victims lose all they have after the floods, they should be rehabilitated to begin a new life and, if necessary, provided with land if their fields are no longer fit for cultivation due to the accumulation of sand and other debris left by the floods. Until then, the lives of the people affected by the floods will continue to be miserable.

Woes continue

A year has passed since the Koshi river unleashed its fury to bring misery to those living in the

area. The relief that was promised time and again have not materialized to the desired extent. The Koshi victims’ plight has to be seen to be believed. One can just imagine the sufferings that they have gone through in all this time. Another cycle of monsoon fury is being seen in recent days with frequent downpours that has resulted in the Koshi also swelling creating fear among those who are living in proximity, including last year’s victims.

The relief that the affected people are getting is intermittent with the full package yet to be delivered. The government seems to have made some effort but the demands made on it are comprehensive to which it has not been able to respond in a timely and effective manner. It calls for a greater response from the government considering the difficulties the victims have been undergoing for more than one year. Commitments alone and site inspection cannot solve the humanitarian problem. There has to be the will to see the welfare of the suffering multitude and the relief mobilised in such a way that the genuine victims become the beneficiaries.