01/25/2011, 00.00
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Exceptionally cold weather kills 50 in Nepal

by Kalpit Parajuli
A cold snap strikes the southern parts of the country, especially the farming region of Terai, where most deaths occurred. Schools, factories and airports are closed. Repeated blackouts are affecting hospitals as well.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – More than 50 people have died from the extreme cold weather that has swept across the southern regions of Nepal in the past few weeks

Terai is hardest hit with most deaths. Repeated blackouts have cut power to hospitals, factories and airports. Hundreds of schools have been closed to avoid further loss of life. Only Catholic schools have remained open for those who want to go to class despite the bad weather.

According to local doctors, people who fled fighting during the Maoist-led insurgency but still living in tents or makeshift shelters are most at risk.

Terai is famous for its belt of farmed fields and is considered Nepal’s “breadbasket”. However, most residents are poor, used to mild weather and unprepared for the current cold snap. Farmers are especially concerned that the cold might wipe out their crops.

In order to help people, police have set up distribution points along the roads to provide locals with firewood. In the meantime, the country’s weather department announced that the cold should last a few more days.

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