Life in the Himalaya: Dangerous roads, a disaster risk reduction plan and missing health facilities 

 

 From the official  ‘road’ – it is a sandy small and unsafe way with danger of landslides, rockfalls and some cars that finished thirdy, fourty meters below in the abyss –  we take a secondary ‘road’, a small path that leads into a small valley. No site tails, huge stones on the road, missing pieces at the edges. 

Want to see? Roads and impressions of the Gharwal region, India, Himalayas – a risk, but you will never forget http://youtu.be/mkygCveKDnQ

The street ends ca. 7 km later, in a small place: a paddy shop, a few other buildings, a recently built small bridge across an apparently small river.  From there an even smaller pathway leads upwards to a village. Then the car stops. The last five hundred meters we have to climb. Here and there in the fields and pathways around some village people carry huge buckets on the back. That’s how they transport all items. The village people leave this valley only in case of need – some market visits, bad health issues or similar. Most of them know just the surroundings which are at “walking distance”. 

We meet the village people. They started just a year ago to work with a Christian local NGO. From there they have set up a children club and started a few additional activities. One activity they show proudly is the development of a disaster risk reduction management plan. 

  

There are many of risks: The melting waters from the Himalayas, earthquakes, landslides. For several months a year – he raining season – it is nearl impossible using the unique road to the next town. When I ask them about health facilities, they deny: “We do not have any health facility. If we can make it, we bring them to the governmental hospital in Ghad.” A trip along all these bumpy roads that takes minimum 40 minutes. “There are no doctors nor nurses. People from town will not come and live here. Some of our women are interested in becoming a nurse and would participate in a 3 year professional education course at the hospital. But it is far too expensive. It costs about 3.5 lakhs, money we do not have and we will never be able to pay.” (3.5 lakhs are ca. 5500 EUR) 

Related info:

Do you remember? It was on 16th June 2013 when the unexpected Himalayan Tsunami occured. A heavy 60 hours non-stop rainfall caused torrential rain, landslides and washed away roads, bridges, houses and other infrastructure. Thousands of deaths were reported … More than 150 bridges and more than thousand connecting roads were damaged. 


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