Friday, 17 September, 2021

Avert Rain-caused Disasters

Having a rugged topography, Nepal is a natural disaster-prone country that experiences calamities of different shapes and sizes, especially during rainy seasons. The rain-triggered disasters, which cause damage to lives and properties, are a common sight. Besides killing many every year, the monsoon-borne disasters damage highways, river embankments, bridges and power transmission lines, among others, fully or partially incurring huge losses to the government coffers. They also pose a great difficulty to the people in their daily affairs and livelihoods.

The current monsoon season has proved a testing time for our country and people. Since June, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA), 85 people have died and 44 have gone missing owing to monsoon-triggered disasters. A report suggests that several parts of the country have witnessed heavy rainfalls recently, probably due to erratic weather, which must have been an outcome of unfavourable changes in climate patterns. As a result, our country has experienced floods, landslides and inundation on several occasions this year. These disasters caused damage to the public and private properties and the destruction of the public infrastructure. Apart from submerging many areas, the recent rains have claimed the lives of five people. Traffic on vital highways was disrupted following the damage to bridges and roads. Long queues of vehicles were seen stuck on these highways as the area was inundated.

The recent rains, according to reports published in this daily, have affected normal life in about 38 districts. The fresh rain, however, has battered Terai districts such as the West and East Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Dhanusha, Banke and Dhangadi are the worst-hit. All local rivers and rivulets have swollen up to or beyond dangerous levels, posing threats to and claiming many lives as well as property belonging to the people and the government. People in these worst affected districts witnessed floodwaters entering houses, compelling local rescue teams to spring into action. Several lives have been saved, thanks to prompt action from security teams deployed by the Nepali Police and Armed Police Force. However, several were not that lucky as they were swept away by floods or drowned in the inundated areas.

Given the grave situation caused by rains, the Ministry of Home Affairs has directed its officials to undertake effective rescue and relief works in the affected areas. The Home Minister asked the concerned bodies to provide relief to the 400 families affected by recent disasters as well as to replace the damaged bridges so that the traffic on highways could resume immediately. The government has taken the disaster issue seriously but it needs to make several timely arrangements to avert rain-borne casualties and damage to properties. Our authority must make full preparedness to respond to monsoon-related disasters. Besides, it should aspire to build disaster-resisting infrastructure. Rapid response teams should be kept on standby to avoid the consequences of such disasters. At times, the government’s preparations against natural calamities fail to handle the catastrophic situations just because the scale and intensity of disasters overshadow the preparations. However, the authority can save several lives and properties if it makes its citizens aware of the looming predicaments through accurate and timely prediction and mobilising rescue teams effectively.