Rising Temperatures in Tarai: A Struggle for Survival Amidst the Heat

Rising Temperatures in Tarai: A Struggle for Survival Amidst the Heat
Credit goes to Kathmandu Post

The Tarai region of Nepal, known for its fertile plains and agricultural abundance, is currently grappling with an intense heatwave. The scorching temperatures have disrupted daily life, affecting students, farmers, and daily wage workers alike. This article delves into the challenges faced by the residents of Tarai due to the rising temperatures and the measures being taken to mitigate the impact.

The Heatwave's Impact on Education

The extreme heat has forced several municipalities in the Tarai region to announce the closure of schools. In Gulariya Municipality, Bardiya, all schools were closed for five days due to students falling sick in classrooms from the heat. The physical infrastructure of many community schools, with tin roofs and minimal ventilation, exacerbates the heat, creating suffocating conditions inside classrooms. The school closures could be extended if the temperature remains high.

The Toll on Health

The heatwave has also led to a surge in heat-related illnesses. Hospitals in the region have reported an increase in patients, particularly children, suffering from headaches, dizziness, fever, dry skin, nausea, and vomiting. The Bheri Hospital in Nepalgunj, one of the hottest places in the country, has seen more than 50 children visiting the outpatient department daily over the past two weeks.

The Struggles of Farmers and Daily Wage Workers

The extreme heat has severely impacted the livelihoods of farmers and daily wage workers. Farmers, who rely on seasonal vegetables for their income, are finding it difficult to sell their produce as people avoid the market due to the heat. The lack of rain has also raised concerns about crop failure, adding to the farmers' woes. Daily wage workers, who work outdoors, are finding it increasingly difficult to work under the scorching sun.

The Bigger Picture: Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events

The current heatwave in the Tarai region is a stark reminder of the increasing frequency of extreme weather events. Excessive rainfall, continuous rain post-monsoon, dry spells, and droughts have become more common in Nepal in recent years. These events, coupled with the current heatwave, highlight the urgent need for effective climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

The rising temperatures in the Tarai region pose a significant challenge to the residents' health, education, and livelihoods. As the region grapples with the heatwave, it is crucial to implement effective measures to mitigate the impact and prepare for future extreme weather events.