Kathmandu, Nepal: Cold wave continued to take its toll in several Tarai districts even though the cold of this winter season has affected the normal life in other parts of the country. As on Monday, at least 12 people have lost their lives due to the deadly cold. Even though most of the Terai districts are affected with the tedious cold, the number of death toll is high in Saptari district. According to the media reports, nine people have lost their lives in Saptari alone while remaining three died in Rautahat district.
As mercury has continuously been dipping and the efforts made by the different sectors on the name of serving the people do not seem effective, it is likely that the number of death toll would be multi folds in days to come. Hundreds of people have already fall sick and some of them are out of excess of proper medication. People, particularly the children and the elderly coming from the poor and disadvantaged communities have suffered most from the cold. People in the financially backward settlements in Terai districts seem to have had to spend the nights around wood-fire in lack of proper winter clothes. Though the reports of people succumbing to cold wave have started to make headlines, proper attentions are not given yet from the concerned agencies to save the lives of the people.
The tremendous cold has not only caused deaths but also badly affected the normal lives in the Terai districts triggering multiple effects in the communities. As number of school coming students declined, most of the community schools are closed affecting the educational activities. Economical activities have also come down automatically as vehicular movements and flights are halted, market places are closed and the people are becoming unable even to conduct their daily activities. More two minors have lost their lives due to smoke inhalation at Itahari sub-metropolis-6 of Sunari district.
Smoke emitted by a sawdust burning stove had not only caused deaths of two children of a single family but also the parents have fall sick critically due to the smoke-inhalation injuries. The situation is even worse in the residents who had lost their homes in the floods of last rainy season in Saptari district. The deprived families, who have remained homeless due to the floods, have been spending whole the nights around wood-fire in lack of proper shelter and winter clothes.
As the cold season was not come accidently but come early, the concerned government agencies should have given proper attention previously to manage the things worrisome situations. President Bidya Devi Bhandari expressed her grief and sorrow at the loss of lives in the Tarai districts due to cold urging the government to provide relief for the affected people. We would like to salute to the head of state for the generosity shown through the statement.
But, the concern is that it would have better if such a bigheartedness was shown before the loss of lives. As of the president, we also would like to urge the non-government agencies, civil society, political parties and private sector including the people in general to join hands in the rescue and relief operations. The government must deliver basic relief materials immediately in coordination with the private sectors realizing the situation of losing lives due to the cold is matter of embarrassment in the 21th century.