World Environment Day 2015
World Environment Day 2015

Every year, Nepali people scan the horizon anxiously, watching for the clouds that signal the coming of the monsoon. In a country where 75% of the population earn their food through agriculture, the rains are critical. Not enough rain – the crops don’t thrive. Rain too late – the growing season is too short. Rain too early – the fields are not ready.
The greatest fear, though, is heavy, drenching rain over a shorter time period, one of the impacts of climate change that has been affecting Nepal for the last 10 years or more. This kind of rain flattens young crops and floods rivers. It unleashes deadly landslides which rip out the sides of unstable mountains, sending tonnes of mud and rock crashing down on anything in their paths – villages, farms, roads and bridges.

This year, people in central Nepal are particularly afraid. For a start, many have no homes – they are living under tarpaulins or temporary shelters of tin and woven bamboo since the April earthquake. But worse, the mountain slopes above them have been loosened by the quake and its aftershocks; no-one knows what will happen when the rain soaks the thin soil and undermines cracked boulders. Already, people are beginning to leave the mountains to find a safer place near towns and cities.

This is giving rise to a two-fold problem – squatter settlements around district centres, and crops unplanted or left untended in the fields, a serious problem for food security in the coming winter.

Forecasts indicate that the monsoon will be upon us within the next two weeks. Please pray for the people of Nepal during this time – for safety, for good, consistent rain, for a bumper crop.

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