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  • » 04/27/2012, 00.00

    NEPAL

    Nepal, the Himalayan forests are burning

    Kalpit Parajuli

    Over 225 areas destroyed in less than a week. Thousands of acres of pristine forest went up in smoke across the region of the Hindu Kush - Himalaya. Hundreds of villages remain isolated. Relief stopped because of inadequate means and limited funds.

    Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The burning of thousands of hectares of forest has brought the mountain communities of Nepal to their knees. This week, 225 fires have struck areas scattered throughout the region of the Hindu Kush - Himalayas, causing serious damage to homes and killing wild animals and livestock. Because of the few passable roads, relief efforts are struggling to reach remote villages. The people accuse local governments of underestimating the phenomenon that occurs every year during the dry season.

    Mohmad Wakil, Minister for Forests and Soil Conservation National, says: "We are doing our best to control the disaster, but we have no adequate means because of the few funds for fire prevention." These days, the Kathmandu government has launched a fire alert that could last several weeks.

    Tapa Ramesh, head of the National Park Bardia, explains that in a few days thousands of acres of forest have been burned, already affected by fires in recent years. "Many areas are isolated - he says - and we do not yet have precise data on the damage caused to persons, fauna and flora".

    In these years in the Hindu Kush - Himalaya coal mines and timber industry have cleared hundreds of acres of forests and dispersed tons of mercury in soil and into the air, increasing the risk of fires.

    According to Prasad Sharma, coordinator for the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction-South Asia Wildland Fire Network this week alone 83% of fires that usually occur in a year were recorded. "The high mercury concentration in areas near the mines - he added - could lead to other devastating fires." He warns that the line of fire is encroaching on villages. Thousands of people are at risk.

     

     

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    See also

    10/09/2008 INDIA
    In Orissa Christians treated worse than animals, says Father Bernard
    As the situation gets back to normal amid fears and tensions, what happened is slowly emerging. Victims talk about the violence inflicted upon them, a true “attack against the sacredness and dignity of human life”. Beaten repeatedly and left unconscious for hours in the forest, Fr Bernard Digal tells his story.

    29/01/2008 NEPAL
    Hindus from India and Nepal demonstrate in favour of the restoration of Nepal’s religious monarchy
    Thousands of ascetics protest peacefully on the border between the two countries, blocking roads for a day, chanting hymns and slogans. Extremists now threaten more actions if the government does not restore the Hindu king and monarchy.

    12/04/2016 10:25:00 INDIA
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    22/12/2015 INDONESIA
    Government punishes companies responsible for forest fires
    Some 23 companies have been sanctioned, some losing their license, for setting fire to clear forests to plant palm oil trees and trees for pulp and paper companies. The resulting smoke and haze have interfered with travel and caused respiratory problems in half a million people. The crisis is set to cut GDP by 1.9 per cent.

    01/02/2011 NEPAL
    Despite government yes, non-Hindus still denied the right to bury their dead near Kathmandu
    Police and Hindu extremists stop funeral by animist Kirati in Slesmantak forest, near Pashupati temple. Christians, Muslims and animists protest. More than 40 people are injured in clashes. Prime minister urges local authorities to find an appropriate burial place.



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