Incident Reports

Bone-chilling cold grips Tarai


Lumbini, Banke, Nepalgunj

 With the continuing downward drop in mercury levels, Banke has been engulfed under a thick fog since the past three days. Bone-chilling cold wave conditions have made life difficult for the locals. While marketplaces bear a deserted look, locals can be seen huddling around bonfires in small groups. The Banke branch of the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) has said that it will still be a couple of days before the denizens of the city will get to feel the warmth of the sun. “The skies will have to clear up, however. It will still take some time before the weather changes,” said Rita Mahato, chief of DHM field office. Stating that the temperatures had dived further over the past two days, local Bishnu Lammichane of Kohalpur said that he had never felt this cold. The temperature ranged between 9.6 on the low and 13.1 on the high on the Celcius on Saturday. Similarly, with strong winds, locals of Kailali and Kanchanpur districts have become victim to freezing cold. As people prefer to stay in, the cold has affected daily wage workers the most. “If the situation does not change within a couple of days, we will be forced to live on an empty stomach,” said Bhakta Bahadur Rasaili of the squatter settlement near Mahendranagar bazaar. Meanwhile, local Lal Bahadur Sunar complained that they did not even have timber to make the bonfire, which would have been of great respite in such biting cold conditions. Likewise, most of the private and community schools have closed down for a week from Sunday till January 17 as per the decision of various resource centres. “We had decided to shut the schools after consulting with all stakeholders and considering children’s health,” said Assistant District Education Officer Padam Raj Bhatta.

In another report, the condition of flood victims living in camps around the district in Gulariya has been getting worse by the day. As the tents provided by the government five months ago are in tatters, the victims said that they had a hard time combating the bone-chilling cold wave. However, clothing stores have witnessed an increase in the sale of winter clothes following the cold spell since the past couple of days, said a local businessman. While the municipality has been providing timber for bonfires in various chowk in Gulariya bazaar area, executive officer Dharma Raj Neupane of Gulariya municipality said that they had not been able to do the same for the locals living in remote parts of the district. Amidst a programme in Siraha, social worker, lawmaker and vice-chairperson of Phool Kumari Mahato Memorial Trust, Dr Birendra Prasad Mahato, distributed blankets to economically deprived families in Karjanha in the district on Sunday. The blankets were distributed to 501 people from 15 villages of four VDCs in the district.