Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Extreme weather sows uncertainty in Ladakh farmers’ lives

Athar Parvaiz in IPS: …Usually, precipitation in Ladakh, which sits on the western part of the Tibetan plateau, does not even reach 20 centimetres in a whole year. Yet on Aug. 6, cloudbursts dumped as much as 250 cm of rain on Ladakh in just one hour, causing landslides and floods that left at least 233 people dead and thousands more homeless.

Says Pintoo Narbo, one of the many Leh residents who are still traumatised by the tragedy: "We have never heard of a disaster of this kind in Ladakh’s history." Still, even before record rainfall doused Ladakh in August, residents of its 241 villages were already wondering about the curious changes in weather and temperature that were wreaking havoc on the way they live.

…"The winters are getting shorter and warmer," says farmer Tashi Namgiyal. "The snowfall… melts quickly." He says the popular ‘Chadar Trek’, which Zanskar natives had done for generations during winter, when the Zanskar River surface would freeze solid, is now possible for a mere two months. Previously, he says, it "used to be from December to March."

"We are now seeing pests even in upper villages while they were earlier found only in villages lying lower," Namgiyal adds, pointing to more consequences of the changing conditions. "We are also witnessing a shift in sowing and harvesting of barley."

…"The damage is very extensive," confirms Robert Folkes, emergency officer of the non-government organisation Save the Children, referring to the effects of the recent floods. "The farmers certainly need… machines and manual labour for clearing the layers of silt from their fields," he says. "They also need help from the local government and the NGOs for repairing the damage caused to the irrigation system as agriculture mainly depends on irrigation in Ladakh."…

A farm in the Lamayuru area in Ladakh, India. Shot by Hamon jp, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

1 comment:

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The farmers are suffered many problems caused weather.their life is very poor.