“It’s impossible to resume smooth transport like anytime soon, we have settled for a temporary road for now,” says Chairman of Chame Village Municipality Lokendra Ghale.
Following the floods, the chief minister of Gandaki Province Krishna Chandra Pokhrel has visited the disaster site three times in a helicopter, he also announced Rs200,000 in relief for each family. But three and a half months later, locals are yet to receive any help.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s government declared Manang as a high-risk district, following which Home Minister Bal Krisha Khand and Energy Minister Pampha Bhusal also choppered in to make more promises that have not been kept.
“We haven’t received any help from the central government, the only relief has been from Manang people living in Kathmandu or abroad,” adds Ghale. “All these experts in Kathmandu who have linked the disaster to climate change are also all talk and no action.”
Located in the Himalayan rainshadow, Manang gets only about 300mm of rain a year. But on 15 June, it got 212mm of rain in just 24 hours. The average rainfall for March-June in Manang is about 40 mm, but this year it got 135 mm in that period.
“The soil in high mountains can be easily washed away by the rain as they are not as firm,” says geography professor Subodh Dhakal at Tribhuvan University. To make matters worse, Manang saw fires burn continuously for three months last winter. Monsoon cloudbursts then hit slopes where the soil’s absorptive capacity had been reduced by previous wildfires. The runoff disgorged itself into the Marsyangdi River.
“Due to the rise in average global temperature, there is more moisture in the monsoon system, and these have managed to find their way to the other side of the mountains, this is a clear link to global warming,” says climate scientist Ngamindra Dahal.
The average increase in temperature in Manang is also higher than other districts at lower elevations, and is 0.09 Celsius higher than elsewhere, according to the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology.
This is in line with the finding that the Himalaya is getting 0.3-0.7 Celsius warmer than the global average, and is a warning for a much hotter Subcontinent and more frequent disasters in the coming days.