Summer’s come. It is at our door. We have begun feeling the heat already. Then will come the monsoon. Awaiting us ahead are challenges galore. How we prepare from now on while we still have some time in our hands will, in the end, prove how forward-looking or unmindful we had been.
Warming weather brings health challenges myriad, particularly in the southern belt and some eastern parts of the country. Thanks largely to border sealing in the south at this time we have so far not had a dengue outbreak. But what we must know it’s that we cannot rely on border shut down alone. In warmer places the threat is ever-present. The disease infected more than 5,000 people and claimed six lives last year.
Malaria is another problem. Even as we try hard to eliminate the disease we are often surprised with a few cases every year. In case of an outbreak this summer, the burden on the country’s health system will be immense. Covid-19 cases are rising in the country. We are fortunate that we have not had a single local case till date. But that is mainly because we have a strong quarantine system in place. Yet there is always the danger. A few more positive cases could paralyse the country’s health system. As it is, the country’s health system has been stretched to the limit.
Being in the Himalayas, on the fragile mountain terrain, we are vulnerable to the ravages of monsoon. Roadblocks occur and the swelling rivers wash the bridges away, cutting off communities for weeks on end. Not to forget the imminent dangers of glacial lake outburst floods that could wreak untold damage to the people and settlements down the valleys.
Food supply is another. Because we depend on import for almost everything, starting from salt to soap to building materials, border sealing has compelled us to stock up. We are fortunate that allowances are being made and the supply of food and essential items continue to come. But we cannot bank on these small fortunes. If the situation worsens across the border, which looks likelier by the day, things could change.
Even otherwise, what if our roads and bridges are gone? Putting them back could take days, weeks, months, who knows? As if we aren’t already we will be left at the mercy of thieves and opportunists. Those with small income, which means a vast majority is us, will be hit the hardest.
We have no option but to go all out to prepare for the worse.