I’ve alluded in earlier posts about the challenges the people of Nepal (and many other counties in SE Asia) face during monsoon time. This year’s monsoon has killed over 50 people in Nepal, and there is another two months to go before monsoon is expected to end. Landslides are frequent and have hit the Narayangadh-Mugling road multiple times so far this monsoon, where at least 10,000 vehicles ply back and forth every day.
This road connects the country’s southern, eastern and western parts with Pokhara and Kathmandu and creates unbelievable havoc when it has to shut down.
Another factor to add to the mayhem in Kathmandu is the ongoing road works that have been underway for years now, aimed to install proper drainage systems and resurface the roads. Private contractors are doing the work … or I should say won the contracts but are not really doing any of the work, just lining their pockets really. So here we are in the middle of yet another monsoon and nothing much as changed. Take a look.
Not only is it warm and muggy monsoon time, but the garbage has not been collected in Kathmandu for over a month due to two factors – no more room at the landfill and the access road has been washed out. So now there are piles of garbage mounting up all over the city, and not only does it stink to high heaven, it also means a serious threat to water-borne diseases.
To top it off, the city of Bhaktapur has been trashed with the Hanumante River having swollen it’s banks, after a night of fierce rain last Wednesday. The Araniko Highway heading east is completely submerged with over 4 feet of water. Fortunately my friends the Kayastha Family are not affected.
Banepa, the town where I live for much of my time in Nepal is completely flooded but thankfully Lok and family’s home is on a higher elevation and so has not been affected. Mind you the people living in makeshift tents and under tarps after losing their homes in the 2015 earthquakes suffered the brunt of this year’s flooding – enough already.
I came across this little story which made me snigger a little. The Traffic Police along the Koteshwor-Suryabinayak section of the Araniko Highway are attempting to ensure drivers stick to lanes by vehicle type, where the heavy trucks are to stay right and cars & motorbikes must stick to the left, with no overtaking. I snigger only because first of all, the lanes are not always evident and when they are evident, no one really keeps to lanes. The chances of vehicles sticking to their ‘lane’ are slim to none! There’s also an attempt at educating jaywalkers – ha! Good luck with that. Read it here.
And finally on a positive note, a cool thing happened at the recent Turkish Airlines ENGAGE Empowering League in Kathmandu. The tournament is a wheelchair basketball competition now in it’s third year with 134 players and more than 600 spectators and is getting noticed by the general population.
In the past anyone with a disability was shunned across Nepal and it was for this reason Ram Bahadur Tamang was determined to complete his Wheelchair Yaatra in 2014. Ram’s aim was to raise awareness and give hope to those with disabilities. It is clear Ram’s yaatra has done it’s job. One of the young players at the tournament was asked for his autograph by some adoring spectators. Unheard of! Read all about it here.
Keep up your advocacy work Ram!