Given the rugged terrain of Nepal, it is very vulnerable to natural calamities. Every year, such disasters take a heavy toll of human lives and properties. Despite knowing that disasters are bound to occur, little is being done here by the way of disaster preparedness that would help mitigate the destruction from such incidents. Therefore, those in the disaster prone areas in particular continue to suffer from the effects of natural calamities. Such disasters can strike anywhere any time as happened when a flash flood of the Seti River wreaked havoc Saturday killing at least 14 people and more than 50 went missing. The floods caused immense damages in various parts of Kaski district. These are only preliminary reports, and the casualties could be higher. Although the rescue operations are going on, we can say that they are too little too late. Still we need to applaud those involved in the operation namely the Nepal Army the Armed Police Force and the Nepal Police and also the locals.
The flash flood occurred on Saturday morning. The Kharapani Bazaar which was swept away gets crowded with people during the afternoon with many merrymakers. Had the flood occurred then, the casualties would have been even higher. Even so, Seti River unleashed a terror the likes of which had not been seen for more than 50 years. The flash flood, according to experts, happed because of landslide and not an avalanche or the Glacial Lake Outburst Flood but this is not known for certain. This goes to show how vulnerable many settlements are to flash floods that could originate from any cause. Keeping this in mind, there should be an early warning system that would alert the local populace when disaster looms. No doubt, this is not an easy proposition, but it is worth having the system for early watning so that in case of impending disaster, the local population could be evacuated to safety before any damage or loss of life could result. The rivers should be constantly monitored not only in the hills but also the terai where flash floods cause enormous damage. The authorities should have read the signs for it had been raining incessantly for three days in the Annapurna and Machhapuchhre region. Had the concerned been more vigilant, they might have actually foreseen that a disaster was in the making. But they failed to do so.
Meanwhile, all the country is behind those who suffered from the flash flood of the Seti River. We wish to express our deepest condolences to the near and dear ones of those who perished from the flood, and also the missing with sincere wishes that they will be found safe and sound. The loss of life and damage to property should be immediately assessed and relief should be provided to them. For this, the various government bodies should work in tandem and coordinate their rescue efforts so that relief reaches on time, including food, water and shelter and also medical attention. In this hour of profound grief, all Nepalese should see to what they can do to help the disaster-affected, and at the same time the authorities should see to it that the impact of such disasters that could be predicted is mitigated.
Shut the quacks
That quacks are thriving while their patients are meted out immensely distressing health ordeals as a result of which they even die a horrible death comes as a shocking revelation. There are thousands of unauthorised health treatment centres in the country, and the government line agencies whose job is to pursue them and recommend legally punishing them. But, what is seen is that these illegal practitioners go on fleecing innocent people—all in the open glare. This shows that the government watchdog is not doing the job that it is entrusted with. There are rules to check any unqualified person from running a treatment centre. The urgent need is to enforce the rules so that innocent people do not die untimely death at the hands of the quacks.
Health is a sensitive issue, and there should be no excuse for anyone trying to bend the rules. The health posts, centres and hospitals in the country should be able to spread the message that only qualified medical practitioners and treatment centres should be relied on for quality health treatment. The social workers, political parties and their activists too should impress on the people to visit certified health care delivery centres for diagnosis and treatment.