•   Sunday, 23 Jun, 2024

Jajarkot Needs You, Not Tinkune: A Plea Amidst Political Rallies

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The focus must shift to preventing avoidable deaths, especially with the winter months looming

Every morning, as I open the newspaper, I am confronted with a grim reality – a litany of death reports from Jajarkot, where people are succumbing to the harsh reality of inadequate shelter and sanitation—basic needs enshrined in our constitution. The situation is exacerbated by the looming threat of pneumonia, especially alarming during the winter months. Doctors emphasize that the rise in cold-related ailments, including pneumonia, poses a significant risk, particularly to children and the elderly. It feels like the height of negligence, a tragedy that echoes not just the seismic tremors but the failure of swift and coordinated relief efforts. Lives are slipping away, and it's a stark reminder that these losses are not inevitable. Having witnessed similar scenarios during my time in Dadaab, Kenya, I am compelled to draw parallels, urging for an urgent and well-coordinated response to the unfolding crisis in Jajarkot.

While lives are being lost in Jajarkot, Kathmandu is dwelling on issues around Tinkune- that should not be a priority. For instance, my dad, 81 years old, has a very good hearing aid, but as soon as he senses I've started some nonsense conversation, his hearing aid stops working. This is what our government should be doing—filtering out the noise and focusing on issues that demand their attention.

Personal Reflection on Dadaab

In 2010/11, I found myself in Dadaab, one of the largest refugee camps globally, during a period of unprecedented crisis. Mothers, desperate to escape the horrors of civil unrest and famine in Somalia, undertook perilous journeys, often unknowingly carrying infants who had succumbed to the hardships en route. The sheer scale of the humanitarian crisis prompted a global response, with over 100,000 refugees seeking refuge in Dadaab.

Amidst the influx, I witnessed the challenges of coordinating relief efforts in Dadaab, where over 25 aid agencies operated alongside intense media coverage, including CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera. A well-intentioned president's order for two relief flights, triggered by televised urgency, highlighted the critical need for coordination. Despite the goodwill, the exorbitant costs and logistical issues revealed that even the most generous contributions could face obstacles without a well-coordinated effort, emphasizing the importance of strategic and collaborative action in humanitarian crises.

Relevance to Jajarkot

Fast forward to the current scenario in Jajarkot, and the echoes of those lessons resonate strongly. The aftermath of the earthquake has spurred various donors, philanthropists, and politicians into action. However, amid these efforts, reports of daily lives lost persist. The urgency of providing immediate relief is overshadowed by political debates in Kathmandu, mirroring the distractions witnessed in Dadaab.

In the face of this crisis, numerous donors have approached the government, and individual philanthropists have poured in their support. Even powerful both aspiring and seasoned politicians, whether viewed as performing a stunt or engaging in a noble cause, have shown up, its commendable. Yet, despite these efforts, the heartbreaking reports of daily deaths persist. It's a stark reminder that the focus should be on providing immediate relief rather than engaging in debates about political systems.

The current debate in Kathmandu swirls around seemingly inconsequential matters, including discussions about restoring the monarchy, and exempting loans arose from the incompetence of banks. However, these issues, in the grand scheme of the crisis in Jajarkot, hold minimal significance or none at all. We have sacrificed immensely to establish democracy, and the presence of some incompetent leaders should not erode our faith in the power of democracy. As Winston S. Churchill aptly said, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others." Just because we have some incompetent leaders does not mean that we lose faith in the democratic ideals that have been hard-fought for. Democracy is not a flawless system, but it provides the mechanisms for change and improvement without resorting to drastic measures.

Drawing from the Dadaab experience, the imperative for a coordinated relief effort in Jajarkot is clear. Formation of a Task Force is imperative to bridge the gap between the capital, Kathmandu, and the affected zones. Leveraging an existing needs assessment report, the coordinated effort should prioritize housing and healthcare, with a specific focus on vulnerable groups—the elderly, pregnant women, children, and individuals with specific needs.

As political debates and differences continue, it's crucial to heed the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: "It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan." The sacrifice made for democracy should not be undermined by the shortcomings of a few. Instead, the focus must shift to preventing avoidable deaths, especially with the winter months looming.

Notable figures have weighed in on similar situations around the world. As former U.S. President John F. Kennedy once remarked, "The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining." This sentiment holds true for Jajarkot, where urgent action is required to save lives rather than dwelling on debates about restoring monarchy or relinquishing secularism.

The situation demands a departure from political posturing to a united front against a common adversary—the threat to lives in Jajarkot. Channeling collective will, resources, and the lessons from experiences like our past, and Dadaab becomes imperative for a comprehensive, coordinated relief effort. The parallels between these crises, while distinct in context, underscore the universal need for immediate action and efficient collaboration to avert further tragedy in Jajarkot.

In this urgent call for coordinated relief, the personal reflection on Dadaab serves as a testament to the impact of effective collaboration and the tangible difference it can make in the face of immense humanitarian challenges. The experiences shared are not meant to directly draw relevance between distinct contexts but rather to emphasize the universal importance of a well-coordinated response in the aftermath of natural disasters.

Source: myRepublica
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