Monday, 27 May, 2024

Protect The Vulnerable  From Nature's Wrath

Our country is vulnerable to various forms of natural calamities. Inundations, floods, and landslides always create havoc on the people's life and properties belonging to people and the government. Every monsoon, water-induced disasters affect the people and the nation. The nation's topography, studded with high mountains, rugged terrain and gushing rivers, is partly to blame for such calamities. More notably, the lack of timely preparedness on the part of our authorities is the key factor that makes us pay for all kinds of natural disasters. Damage to private and public properties and disruption in transport and transmission of power are due mainly to the lack of preparedness to tackle the monsoon-triggered disasters.

Recently, the country found itself on the receiving end owing to the post-monsoon torrential rains that lashed many parts, which resulted in the loss of life and properties, displacement of the people due to inundation, floods and disruption in transport and power. The sudden post-monsoon heavy downpours killed more than 100 people and displaced over 1,000 households. Farmers in many districts, considered the rice-bowl of the nation, are the worst hit lots. At a time when they were preparing to harvest the paddy crops, the rain damaged the crops worth over Rs. 7 billion in three provinces - Sudurpashchim, Lumbini and Province 1 – which have been most affected by the rainfall. Consequently, this year the nation's rice production will see a fall causing a slight decline in the nation's GDP as rice is a key product of our agriculture-based economy.

In the aftermath of the unparalleled disasters, what is solacing is the quick announcement of short and long-term relief packages to the affected ones from the government. While visiting to inspect the flood-hit areas, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba announced that the government would hand over immediate relief to the flood-hit displaced families and implement long-term programmes to mitigate flooding threats that occur every year. The PM, while addressing a meeting following the inspection to the flood-hit area in Tikapur, told the masses that he could have returned to the capital after observing the area but interacted with the people as he wanted to listen to the pangs of concerned citizens. This statement from PM Deuba shows that he will carry out concrete programmes to allay the woes of the distressed masses.

In the meantime, our authorities, as suggested by the PM himself, must work seriously on the measures to avert rain-induced disasters that occur every year. Likewise, they must remain alert and prepared to tackle any eventualities that greet the nation suddenly, like the recent post-monsoon rains, which were quite unexpected. Our weather forecast department could have done well, had they issued a notification warning to the people and farmers alike of the coming dangers. The loss suffered by the people and farmers, mainly in the rice-bowl districts, could have been averted. It is sad to know that even in this time of advanced technology in the information sector, our authorities failed to pinpoint the calamities that would cause widespread damage. The recent torrential downpours should open the eyes of our authorities, including the government's ministries and weather departments, so that they could join hands to maintain a close vigil on the upcoming dangers. This would protect the people's life, private and public properties. It would also save the most vulnerable groups -- farmers and poor ones -- from nature's onslaught.