Heavy snowfall cripples normal life in Manang

NL Today

  • Read Time 2 min.

Kathmandu: Many places in the mountainous and high hill areas have witnessed heavy snowfall with the westerly low-pressure system becoming active. As a result, life has been affected in many ways while people of the areas that rarely received snowfall enjoyed it. The natural phenomenon has attracted domestic tourists.

The people in the upper Manang have descended to the lowland to avoid chilling cold and snowfall during winter. Tourism and development activities in the area would come to a halt in general due to a biting cold.

As massive concentration is being paid for clearing snow, development works get very limited attention here. Deposition of snow during winter and flooding and landslides during summer this year are blamed for stalled development activities here. So many longstanding development projects in the area are waiting for completion.

In recent years, locals here have noticed changes in the pattern of snowfall. It has been irregular and disproportionate. One year, the district receives a heavy snowfall while it is just partial next year. Locals believe that it is all happening due to the impact of climate change.

One year, the Lower Manang gets hit by a heavy rainfall along with snowfall and the situation is different next year. A large number of livestock were killed by a snowfall some years ago in Upper Manang and since then the situation has not reoccurred.

Local farmer Yangdung Gurung said the rate of snowfall has decreased in recent years. “In the past, we would see heavy snowfall that even buried our yaks. It used to occur generally in November-December. Now, it has become off-seasonal. Meadows are gradually vanishing due to off-season snowfall, posing a threat to animal farming. Youths are being displaced from the animal rearing business. We can assess implications of off-season snowfall on forests, alpine lands and on agricultural production as well.”

Ngisyang Rural Municipality Chair Kanchha Ghale said, “Now, we don’t see the snowfall as much as in the past. It would be devastating. There would be accumulations of snow up to five feet in the lower areas. But it is just partial and disproportionate in recent years. The effect of snowfall is mixed: sometimes it gives a respite, doing good for winter crops, sometimes it is painful.”

Though the snowfall affected the people’s daily lives, farmers are elated with the hope that it would be beneficial for their farms.

“Snowfall is taken as a boon for crops,” said Agricultural Knowledge Centre, Manang’s Chief Rajesh Gurung. As he said, snow will moist the inner surface of the land. It is favorable for apple, walnut, buckwheat, potato farming and other winter crops alike. Moreover, it helps control the attack of the pesticide on fruits and vegetables.

In recent years, the decline in snowfall has led to the fall in apple production and degradation of its quality as well, it is said.