Limi residents face challenges brought by this year’s snowfallWith health posts and ward offices closed, villagers struggle to manage the basics.
Limi village in Namkha Rural Municipality Ward No. 6, Humla, experienced its first snowfall of the winter season in the last week of December; the second time was in January end. It’s been two weeks since the last snowfall and the valley is still covered in four-feet high snow, making life difficult for the local residents.
The snow and freezing temperatures have forced the ward office and health posts to close in the three settlements of Limi— Halji, Jang and Til. The snow has caused inconveniences to all but especially to those with health issues, says Rangdu Tamang, a resident of Halji.
“There’s snow everywhere. We haven’t been able to go about our daily lives. All health posts are closed so we have to rely on home remedies for illnesses,” she said. “We haven’t been able to graze our cattle for about one-and-a-half months now because of the snow.”
Girmet Tamang of Halji says it’s worse for the children and the elderly who have been badly affected by the cold. “There are no health workers in the village and we can’t even get a paracetamol.”
Police personnel stationed in Limi have also moved to the district headquarters, Simkot, because of extreme weather conditions.
“Most of the people’s representatives of the area are also not in the villages,” said Paljor Tamang, the ward chair of Namkha Rural Municipality Ward No. 6, who is also in Kathmandu. “Administrative and development works have come to a halt. We have completed some small development projects and the rest will resume from mid-April.”
There are 90 houses in Halji, 32 in Jang and 30 in Til, according to ward chair Tamang.
The local residents usually stock up on food and other essentials for themselves and for their livestock before the winter season sets in in earnest. But this year Covid-19 pandemic prevented them from stocking up.
“The border with China was closed for almost the entire year because of the pandemic,” Rangdu said. “We used to go to markets in the border area to buy food essentials for us and fodder for our cattle but this year we couldn’t make the trip because of Covid-19-related restrictions.”
The villagers’ current reserve might not last them long, says Rangdu. She urges the government to make arrangements for Limi residents so they can survive the rest of the winter season.
“The authorities should at least send some food grains to the villages because all households are running out of food now,” she said.
According to ward chair Tamang, the villagers could not store enough food to last this winter due to the border closure.
“Around 500 quintals of rice was distributed in the villages through the Food Management and Trading Company Limited before it started snowing,” he said.
By his estimation, the stock should last the villagers for at least a month more.
The snow and freezing temperatures have also affected the studies of most Limi children. While most schools in Limi have been closed following heavy snowfalls, Sunkhani Primary School has been running classes by lighting fires to keep the students and teachers warm.
“We have to complete this year’s course, which is why we have continued with the classes,” Karnajit Buda, the headmaster of the school, told the Post. “We light a fire to keep ourselves warm. School closure would disrupt the students’ academic session.”