The excessively cold weather over the past few days has affected the daily lives of people residing in the Tarai belt, including Banke and Dhanusha districts. Children, senior citizens and people from impoverished communities are hardest hit by the ongoing cold waves.
Movement of vehicles and people has been reduced significantly during morning and evening hours in villages and towns of Tarai. Likewise, the number of service seekers in government offices has fallen significantly, and most of the schools are closed.
According to our Nepalgunj correspondent Siraj Khan, the weather has become extremely cold due to the cold wave in Banke district for a few days. The lives of people in this region have turned chaotic owing to the cold waves.
The main markets in Nepalgunj, including Tribhuvan Chowk, Sadarline, Gharbaritole, VP Chowk, Birendra Chowk, and Pushpalal Chowk, have experienced a decline in day-to-day activities.
Those most affected by the cold include rickshaw pullers, cart drivers, and labourers. Furthermore, the extreme cold has had a significant impact on children and the elderly.
As the cold is increasing, the District Disaster Management Committee and the Nepali Army have arranged firewood to make fire for the common people in some places.
Chief District Officer and Coordinator of the District Disaster Management Committee in Banke Shrawan Kumar Pokharel said, “We have urged the local levels to make necessary arrangements in their respective municipalities to save citizens from cold.”
Over the past three days, numerous morning and evening flights to and from Nepalgunj have been cancelled owing to dense fog and lack of visibility. The Civil Aviation Office in Nepalgunj reported that a significant number of morning air flights to hilly districts such as Humla, Bajura, Muguko Rara, Dolpa, and Jumla are being cancelled, with some enduring delays.
According to Suresh Khanal, the head of the Civil Aviation Office in Nepalgunj, both morning and evening flights to Kathmandu, along with those to the hilly districts, are facing disruptions.
The temperature in Nepalgunj has been falling over the last four days. On Thursday and Friday, the temperature dropped even further, ranging from 7.7 to 9 degrees Celsius, the field office of the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology at Ranjha informed.
Meanwhile, our correspondent from Dhanusha Bijay Kumar Sah reported that people in Dhanusha have been grappling with extreme cold for the past few days.
Gulam Sada, 60, at Musahari village of Mithila Municipality-4 in the district, is feeling unwell due to the cold weather. He used to support his family through agricultural labour in the village but lost his job with the drop in temperature. Daily wage earners are finding it difficult to support their families because they are losing jobs because of cold.
Sada, with a family of seven, including five children, is struggling in the extreme cold. They lack warm clothing and are relying on fire to keep them warm. Sleeping on straw beds with straw-filled blankets, their hardship is intensified as they lack enough food and clothes to keep themselves warm.
Gangaram Sada, 45, of the same Musahar village, expressed that fire was the only option to combat the cold. With no warm clothes at home, he shared that cold had added tremendous challenges in their day-to-day life.
Gangaram, with a family of six, talked about the shivering nights caused by bone-chilling cold and their lack of preparedness because of their poverty, which has made their life extremely difficult. He expressed frustration, stating, “My earnings are not sufficient for both food and amenities like proper beds and blankets. For us, straw beds are our actual beds, and blankets remain a luxury we cannot afford, and my children are suffering.”
The Province government to distribute 20,000 blanketsMeanwhile, the Madhes government has planned to distribute blankets to 20,000 people affected by the cold wave. Mohammad Samim, Minister of Home Communications and Law, said that preparations are underway after collecting data on those in need.
The provincial government aims to coordinate with security agencies and utilise the Provincial Disaster Management Committee’s statistics to facilitate the blanket distribution. Minister Samim emphasised the government’s commitment to collaborating with various entities involved in disaster management and risk reduction to save people in extreme cold.