miércoles, 2 de septiembre de 2015

Modos de vida / Ways of living

Monsoon Struggle (Nepal)

Nepal’s topography lies mangled and crumbled after two powerful earthquakes thrashed the Himalayan nation on April 25 and May 12 2015.

Monsoon season, running through June to September, is further exacerbating the devastation by making the debris-dotted terrain melt into landslides.

Across the worst-hit areas of central and western Nepal, the quake destroyed terraced slopes where farmers plant maize, wheat and rice. It also destroyed mountain trails used by villagers. In many areas, farmers are reluctant to work in the fields for fear of landslides, a threat that grows more serious with the onset of the monsoon.

In remote villages tucked between steep Himalayan foothills and roaring mountain rivers in central and western Nepal, farming communities continue to struggle.

When the hills around his house began to shake, Budhman Ram Bahadur was out tending to his maize crop. He believes that saved his life. His mud-and-stone house collapsed, killing a buffalo, but he and his family of five survived. 
“I’ve lost my buffalo, my ploughs and my scythes,” says Bahadur. 
But he also faces bigger problems in the wake of the earthquake. 

Pointing to a white patch high up on the green mountainside almost directly above the terraced fields, he said, “That’s a landslide. Those rocks could come down any minute.”

While climbers wait for mountain passes to reopen, villagers living in communities that cling to the hillsides are still struggling to survive. In the monsoon, both tar roads and steep dirt roads connecting the valleys have become so impassable that even the daily State Transport bus services to these villages is halted.

This year, monsoon rains acting over shaked slopes have been particularly harsh against the track network, producing frequent full slope landslides which have totally destroyed sections of it. Alternative shortcuts have had to be opened through difficult topographies.

If farmers are locked in their homes, for months to come they can’t sell their produce;

women can’t go to the markets and the primary health center is also forced to shut. 

School-going children have to climb up and down the hills to get class. This becomes too dangerous in the monsoon, so they have to stay in the hostels, away from their parents…
By end-August, inadequate food and imbalanced diets have weakened the villagers’ immunities and there are outbreaks of malaria, gastroenteritis and skin allergies.
Yet every year some people die trying to cross the flooded river during medical emergencies and equal number die of viral fevers, pregnancy-related complications, snake bites and other medical conditions, because they could not get to a doctor. What of this particularly suffering year.

“The earthquake was an enemy we couldn’t fight,” Bahadur says. “But we’re strong and we’ll survive.”

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