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The monsoon and us

The seasonal monsoon trough is lying over the Himalayan range. This means there is more rain, heavy in some parts, in the next few days.

Forecast from the national hydrology and meteorology centre is reliable now. With improved technology and expertise, the forecast has to be taken seriously. This is because with heavy rains in the last few days, there had been damage to infrastructure, particularly to our roads.

In Phuentsholing, people and their properties are evacuated to higher grounds as incessant rain caused the Omchhu to swell and threaten lives and damage to property. Authorities and commuters are sharing images and updates of several roadblocks across the country.

In short it is wiser to be cautious for the next few days, perhaps the next few months as monsoon peaks.

We are located in the fragile part of the young Himalayas. This make us prone to disasters like floods and landslides caused by a slight change in the monsoon pattern. We are suddenly dealing with an excess of water from the shortage we experienced about a month ago.

Fortunately, with advanced communication technology, we are more aware than we were before. A roadblock or a landslide is immediately communicated through the media including social media, which in this case is more effective and quicker in disseminating information. For once, social media like Facebook is playing a positive role.

Besides the several roadblocks and flash floods, we have not reported any casualties. Our disaster preparedness has also improved and all eyes are on the possible dangers of the change in weather or seasonal surprises.

We are spared from massive flooding or lost to lives and property that is happening in our neighbouring Indian states. Compared with that, our roadblocks are only mild irritants. Except for a few hours of impatient wait on the road, barring a few bad situations, we have not experienced massive disruptions to life.

The best preparedness is being cautious. There is no harm in postponing a journey for a day if the road conditions are bad. Precious lives will be saved if we pay heed to the warnings and forecast. The monsoon has only started. None of us can predict the wrath of nature even if we can forecast rainfall.

There is also no harm in being cautious because we are different now. A roadblock in the past meant that commuters were held up two or three nights. There was no way of checking the condition of roads in advance or our forecast was as unreliable as the monsoon.

We are better now. We will not be deprived of essentials including fuel. We have better machinery to clear roadblocks or alternatives. There is no reason to compete with the weather conditions.

Meanwhile, the monsoon is also cursed for exposing, literally, the blunders in our planning system. Whether it is poor drainages in the towns or farm roads giving away to the first heavy rain, the monsoon exposes it all.

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