EDITORIAL: Work in concert
All the concerned stakeholders should work in concert when it comes to dealing with natural calamities in an effective manner
Every year landslides take a huge toll of human lives and destroy properties worth billions. Nepal in particular is very vulnerable due to its rugged terrain.
There is little we can do about the prevention of such disasters although we can do something in mitigating their effects, which unfortunately is not done.
Apart from landslides other natural disasters that the country is prone to are floods, earthquakes, fire, avalanches, windstorms, hailstorm, lightning and glacial lake outburst floods. Just the other day landslides claimed six lives in Taplejung and Bhojpur.
Everyday we have reports of such casualties and unfortunately little has been done to rescue the landslide victims as they often occur in remote areas difficult to access.
Since landslides are a perennial problem it is high time that the necessary precautionary measures were taken such as relocating those who live in high risk areas. The vulnerable areas should be identified and some locations are already known to be prone to disasters.
This would go a long way to ensure that the casualties are kept to the minimum.
Although there are funds and materials to provide relief to the disaster victims they are late in reaching them. Meanwhile, many of those who suffer from disasters are rescued, but they are yet to be resettled.
There are many people living near the river banks precariously, and floods could dislodge them at any time by the big rivers.
Disasters like landslides also block the roads which make travelling by road dangerous as boulders often fall on the roads and obstruct traffic and the vehicles and passengers remain stranded.
Humans are also responsible for the deteriorating environment as a result of which many areas are prone to landslides. Therefore, there is an urgent need to conserve the environment so that landslides can be averted.
Moreover, every eighty years or so the country experiences major earthquakes like the big ones that occurred last year.
In the aftermath of the earthquakes we see how ill-prepared we are to deal with such major tragedies. Many of the victims still have not been provided relief or resettled.
The government should own up for this laxity.
The funds from the Natural Calamity Relief Fund and other resources should have been distributed to the victims promptly, but more than a year after the earthquake many of them are without shelter and lacking even basic necessities like food and drinking water not to talk about sanitation.
Therefore, it appears that the centre should have a strong apparatus so that immediate relief reaches those affected by disasters like floods, earthquakes and the like.
So far relief aid meant for the disaster affected have been seen to be misutilised calling for transparency in all the dealings to ensure that the funds are not abused. The government should preferably coordinate all the relief and rescue work.
These days the number of landslides has increased in some earthquake hit districts.
Instead of playing the blame game as to who is responsible all the concerned stakeholders should work in concert when it comes to dealing with natural calamities in an effective manner.
Illegal drug stores
While conducting a random monitoring of drug stores in the Kathmandu Valley the Department of Supply Management and Protection of Consumers’ Interest found that many drug stores and clinics were operating illegally.
Sixteen of such drug and clinics were found to be operating without their licenses renewed. A drug or a clinic is issued operating license for a period of two years, and they are required to renew it within 35 days from the expiry date.
But most drug stores and clinics flout the rules. Some drug stores and clinics have been sealed for further legal action.
Even in the Kathmandu Valley most drug stores and clinics have not maintained minimum standard and hygiene; they sell even sensitive and date expired drugs to customers without asking for doctor’s prescriptions.
It is illegal to sell drugs without prescriptions. If the drug stores and clinics are not strictly monitored drug addicts can easily purchase even the banned, narcotic and highly sensitive drugs which need to be sold only under a doctor’s prescription.
The concerned authorities should also make it mandatory for all drug stores and clinics to display the price list of all drugs so that they cannot charge more than what has been fixed by pharmaceutical companies.