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How Climate Change Affected My Home Town of Nepal By City Tech Blogger Sakuna Rai

Everyone carries memories and feelings towards their hometown or country, whether good or bad. Sometimes, these memories are associated with a sense of nostalgia, reflecting back on our past happy days. I was born and raised in Morang, Nepal, at the foot of the Himalayas. I still remember fondly how, during my primary school years, my parents or elder brother and I would go fishing in the Chisaang River. Before heading out, we would always look up at the sky and clouds to predict the weather conditions, which usually worked well at that time. However, now that I am grown up with access to advanced technology like weather apps on my phone, weather predictions often fail sometimes. The clouds, which have become more unpredictable due to climate change, make it hard to determine what weather conditions to expect. I believe climate change is the main culprit behind this phenomenon, and unfortunately, my hometown has been badly affected.

Morang is a district located in the eastern part of Nepal, with a population of approximately 1.5 million people. The region has been experiencing the effects of climate change in recent years, with changes in temperature and rainfall patterns affecting the economy as a whole.

One of the most significant impacts of climate change in Morang is rainfall patterns. Nowadays, the region is experiencing more frequent and intense rainfall events, leading to flooding and landslides that have damaged homes, infrastructure, and agricultural land. These events have also resulted in a loss of life and displacement of communities. One of the deadliest floods in recent history in Eastern Nepal occurred in August 2017, when heavy monsoon rains triggered massive landslides and flash floods in various parts of the region. The floods affected several districts in the Terai region, including Morang, Sunsari, Saptari, Siraha, and Udayapur. The events killed many people and displaced tens of thousands more people. When people are forced to displace, they not only lose their homes, possessions and belongings but they also lose their job along with other services like healthcare and education, which could lead to significant social, economic and emotional costs that can take years to recover from.

Heavy rainfall can have a devastating impact on farmers, who are a vital component of the country’s economy. Rice, which is the main crop of Nepal, is typically grown between June-July and harvested in August-September. Due to a poor irrigation system, farmers often have to rely on rainwater to grow paddy. However, no rain or excessive rainfall during the time of planting have caused problems in rice cultivation. Sometimes, unexpected heavy rainfall just a month after the planting of rice seedlings have caused the whole plant to sink. This results in significant losses for the farmers. Most of the paddy fields in Morang have been found to be waterlogged. During harvest time, rainfall can be a real curse, as it destroys crops and reduces productions. In recent years, this curse has been occurring accompanied with hail storms. Heavy rainfall has not only destroyed the main crop, but has also turned fertile land into river beds filled with pebbles and sand. This can have serious implications for agriculture, as the soil becomes unsuitable for growing crops for a year, and can result in further losses for farmers. In addition, the highway and roads damaged by floods add more economic burden such as increased commodity prices. These higher prices can affect the economy as a whole, making life more miserable. It makes it harder to access basic goods and services.

We have already witnessed how a simple change in rainfall patterns has severely affected my hometown and its people. Unfortunately, this is just one example of the thousands of places around the world where people are suffering due to various other climate conditions caused by global warming, such as longer summers, rising sea levels, melting ice, tornadoes, heatwaves, droughts, famines, and more. However, it’s challenging to pinpoint the responsibility for these events, and we cannot solely blame those in positions of power. Therefore, as model citizens, it’s our collective responsibility to combat climate change by reducing carbon emissions and advocating for policy changes. We must understand that while one hand is not enough, the collective efforts of a thousand hands can make a significant difference in combating climate change.

 

References:

https://kathmandupost.com/visual-stories/2021/10/20/floodwaters-inundate-morang-settlements

https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/over-1-000-houses-inundated-in-morang-3-persons-missing/

Image: https://myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com/news/flood-hit-eastern-nepal/

 

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One Response

  1. This is one of the most beautiful articles I was reading on the ClimateYou blog. I also come from Sri Lanka which is one of the developing counties in the Asian continent. While I was reading this article, I could imagine my childhood and how people were fighting those problems for their whole lives. Climate change is one of the main events which a majority of people are talking about nowadays.
    Climate change has badly and evenly affected all the countries in the world. However, there are varying effects depending on which countries are developed and which are non-developed countries. Rich countries can handle climate change impacts by using their money, power and additional resources. The developing countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka don’t have those privileges which makes it hard to handle and adjust to these changes. The main reason I see is the limited area of land and the increase in population, Higher rates of increased population has a direct relationship to deforestation to largely build houses for living, buildings for factories, and making streets, parks, and unsuccessful major projects.
    Most of these activities relate to each other. For example, the increasing population means more people have to find new homes in areas which are open deforestation. Deforestation causes land slides and decreases the amount of forest or farming area and soil and sand move with water and sits under the rivers, lakes, and streams. The main reason for major floods in these countries causes undeveloped land use as described earlier. Not only that, streams and lakes cannot fully function in the way they used to due to the lack of the water capacity in the lakes and cannot carry streams that contain sands and soil on the stream bottom. These countries use a majority of water in the reservoirs to produce electricity and to farm during dry seasons when there is less rain.
    These affects are hard to eliminate completely. However, there are many ways to minimize those affects using technology, study and well planned larger projects such as build apartment buildings instead of building a single house for each family, and educate people about the importance and the consequences of climate change. Reading this article showed me visually how people are fighting climate change and added some important facts to my knowledge.

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