‘We will rise again.’ ‘Nepal will bounce back.’ Will Nepal rise again? The question that we all should concern ourselves with is how Nepal is going to ‘rise again’. Months after two destructive jolts of the earth, do we see this going down the right path, the path of ascension we’ve all promised ourselves?
If we take a closer look at Haiti and how it was left to ruins after the massive earthquake ravaged the whole nation, the southern portion facing the wrath of the disaster, there is a conflicting contradiction between what the reports from the NGOs operating there say and the kind of reaction the locales have shown. They were promised a better and healthier nation like the one we are being promised, and the recent news reports on the media show how miserably the country has failed to meet the commitment. Even after expending of millions and hundreds of emergency teams being deployed, the cholera outbreak that had begun after 10 months of the quake is yet to be eradicated and has claimed about 9000 lives. Due to poor planning and even poorer execution, thousands of Haitians still live without a roof over their heads, unemployment still haunts the population, development goals are achieved only in papers and reports.
Looking back and forth…
Everywhere was complete chaos, in a matter of seconds you could see your world falling apart. After the initial trauma and fear settled down, something miraculous happened. People finally became people not confined by the barricades of class, caste or religion.
People have the propensity to change at the precipice and this was a walking testimony. Suddenly, the world Lennon had imagined was right in front of us to witness, we were all one under God. There weren’t any Brahmins, Dalits, Chettris, Kamis, Damais, supreme or subdued. We became brothers and sisters, all dining in a single kitchen under tarps, in a society that didn’t know any prejudice and our names didn’t hold any weight as long as we were looking out for each other.
Are we okay?
We need to remember a simple fact that we cannot save the fatalities, but we can honor their memory by committing ourselves to saving what has survived. The incognito wound, the struggling state of mind goes beyond simple observation and calculations. Now more than ever, we need to keep our calm and composure and not throw in the towel.
So, the rubbles are cleared but the troubles aren’t…
The data and statistics cannot pinpoint the mental scarring. Immediate actions must be taken in order to help people with PTSD. Medical stations must be set up in the crisis hit areas where positive thinking is permeated, sanguine images are imprinted in their mind, sharing is encouraged and medications are provided if necessary.
Time for a change…
The catastrophe surely has been an eye opener for all of us, a testament to how reckless we have been, paying no attention to the early warnings and living in establishments that put our lives at stake. There were houses built only by piling up stone, mud and thatched, tin roofs which never stood a chance against the disaster of that scale.
We stand at a crucial point at the moment where opting to look back can cost us dearly. The solidarity people showed, volunteers flooding from every corner to lend a hand in the rescue and recovery operation brought incredible changes in the lives of many but a fortnight of working in unison is barely sufficient to achieve a long term effect. It was the time of crisis and everyone did what was needed to be done. The job is not finished yet. People’s contribution needs to continue for a much longer period and there are several ways to ensure that it does.
Instead of looking at this disaster as something that took away everything, consider it as an opportunity. In order to increase people’s participation in this arduous task of rebuilding our nation, this task must be looked at as a chance to create employment opportunities.
Unemployment has always been a pressing issue in the country forcing many to exit country each day to pursue their monetary dreams so they can secure their latter days. The government and other agencies must seek to launch skill development and training programs to generate a huge magnitude of able and adept manpower. If in the years to come we are to ‘build back our nation better’, this could be a major step towards it.
Tourism and agriculture bore the brunt of the catastrophe as the entire economy took a nosedive.
Heritage sites have suffered colossal damage, hundreds of temples, monuments, sculptures have either been completely demolished and many still require repair and adept reworking. The mass media’s coverage of the devastation and the ruins also contributes to the enormous drop in the number of tourists. The restrictions to visit Nepal have been lifted but the increase in new arrivals will certainly require things to settle down first.
The media needs to assist in emanating information regarding the safety status of favorite destinations and encourage foreigners to enter the country after proper inspection and evaluation.
As if the loss of huge number of cattle, livestock and agricultural tools wasn’t causing enough inconvenience, the farmers have found themselves in bigger dilemmas after the recurring landslides and erosion washed away the arable soil, spoiled their crops. Moreover, the arrival of monsoon has resulted in further landslides putting many lives at risk and added additional threat to the land, crops and the roads.
Expert monitoring of the cracks and ruptures in the earth must be conducted to help with the reconstruction of the roadways by properly stabilizing the sloppy areas, fixing the highly unsettled soil, evening out the gaps. There are plenty of other options like planting trees such as Pine, Oak that extends deep below the ground and installing of gravel in the rifts.
Ruling out politics has become a common practice among the youths developed out of years of falling prey to their beautifully crafted deceptive presentations. People have long lost their faith in politics. The new constitution however is a great opportunity to let our voices make the difference. Some proportion of the driving seat needs to be chartered for the youth representatives, the ones that can well understand the true picture of the young natives and vouch for them, generate opportunities for the active populace.
The government of Nepal and many other organizations are receiving large amount of funds from foreign nations including USA, Australia, Japan, India, China, England, etc.
Transparency as to where all the funds are allocated, how the means are transported, mobilized and follow up observation and investigation on the results achieved and target that were previously set is a must. Experts must be deployed in respective fields to prepare reports on the efficacy of the programs after having conducted thorough study so that adjustment and changes can be made to meet the requirements and more productive plans can be created so it ensures uniform allocation of the fund in the rescue recovery missions, food services and medical facilities as well as the development of infrastructures.
A body of unbiased professionals must be formulated in each of the organizations working for humanitarian relief to scrutinize the flow of the money and a detailed statement and report must be publicly displayed at regular intervals.
The topography of our nation makes it more difficult to move things around, mobilize the resources equivalently. We’re looking at a major recuperation here and it is bound to take more than just a few months of running around dispersing relief materials and building emergency shelters. All the spadework must be done beforehand. Bigger plans to build bigger, long term infrastructures must be prepared and executed in due time with diligence.
With the advent of monsoon, the risky mountain slopes have become further menacing and is likely to put more lives at peril and make the journey of redemption further strenuous. Significant numbers of victims continue to live under tarpaulins and in flimsy arrangements prone to being washed away by the heavy monsoon. It is of utmost importance that the reconstruction projects be brought to the fore emphasizing upon the establishment of firm and taut abodes.
Meanwhile, some are living in unsanitary camps, make-do facilities that are not in keeping with health requirements. Water insecurity and food insecurity are very pressing problems. This may lead to outbreak of diseases like cholera, dysentery, diarrhea which is the last thing we require in the present circumstances.
Spread the word, brag or boast
It might look like your patting yourself on the back though in actuality, you are helping. Now, it must come to you as no wonder when I tell you that most of the people do not like you posting pictures where you’re clearing the debris out of a decrepit house with a bunch of people, donning a volunteer’s shirt that says “we will fight back” but while they try to shrug it off, it does the magic, yes the magic of double negative if I may say so.
So turns out, You , the docile fragment of the populace sitting with their digital acquaintances at seconds length, scrolling through pages of ‘news’ and endlessly fishing for compliments can come to some avail after all. So, do not forget to share, post, tweet away if you’re contributing something. Just ignore the judgmental eyes. Then again, what else can they do? Comment you to death? Poke you to unconsciousness? Unfriend you for life, unfollow? Hashtag you to hell?
If only the people were half has concerned about the ones that are still living under settlements that were built to sustain for weeks as they are about Pluto and the name of the mountains there. We concern ourselves with things that do not matter. Our brave ancestors and rich history would be looking at us and saying,” Well, we didn’t fight for that, certainly not for those who spent their good years trying to verify our birthplace but never accomplished a feat that would prove them to be our offspring”
One thing we should avoid is sharing information hastily without validating where they come from just because they’re some sponsored, popular page with devotees in numbers. Social media authorities must make sure that information circulated are accurate and verified unlike the ‘bigger earthquake rumors’, fake BBC web pages, ‘15 days of doom’, etc. We have to be careful not to become messengers of unwarranted news that spread over the internet like fire.
Work/pray for Nepal
The dissension between these two actions ‘work’ and ‘pray’ took the whole debate to another level during the very first months of fighting back. “Stop praying and Work for Nepal.” Do you mean for us to stop lighting candles, sending out prayers or hoping things to get better. Does it mean that the gleam of diyas perturbs their peace and the incenses we set alight incenses the lord?
Giving up faith would mean surrendering to despair and not many return from that state. Nepal’s a country where there’s temple every few blocks away, shrines, mosque, monasteries, gumbas and families and houses built on faith and religion. To abandon faith would result in a worst case scenario when our insides are ready to concede. Work for Nepal but don’t offer profanities when someone prays or appeals to the heavens.
Nepal is in a vulnerable state and it is heartwarming to see many foreign nations come forth to help Nepal dig itself out of this pit. The recovery process can be slow but the sustainability must not be compromised. We must pursue with the same resilience we’re known to display and have faith in ourselves to build a bigger and better Nepal. Consider this as a precursor to a new dawn. Now is the perfect opportunity to carry our nation to a beautiful sunrise where there’ll be only one heaven, the one where we live
Little children back at home who helped us build temporary shelter.
Butterlamps, keeping the faith alive.
Ancient storytelling, along with sermons. Hopes up
Beauty is immortal to the eyes that are true…