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Families Live on Trees due to the Terror of rampaging Elephants in Jharkhand

The number of elephants in the state has increased from 624 in 2007 to 688 in 2012

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Herd of elephants. Pixabay

Ranchi, Nov 30, 2016: At least four families have been forced to live on trees because of the terror of rampaging elephants near Ranchi, the capital city in Jharkhand.

A herd of elephants has created fear among the people living in villages near Ranchi as well as those travelling along the Ranchi- Jamshedpur National Highway.

The highway remains deserted for hours due to the fear of the wandering elephants.

Some families living in Loharatola village in Bundu, around 45 km from Ranchi, have made makeshift perches on trees. They sleep on trees to protect themselves from elephants.

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A herd of elephants damaged their houses last year. The families left their village and have been living through fields as they have agricultural land.

“During the daytime, we are involved in farming activities. The children collect small pieces of bricks for pelting at the elephants,” said Janki Munda, head of a family which lives on trees.

There are more than 15 families in the village and all depend on farming for their livelihood.

The village lacks basic facilities, exposing the tall claims made by the state government about development work in Jharkhand.

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“We are left to fend ourselves. We eke out living by cultivating our farms. We have no other option for making our living. We live in the fear of elephants and have made makeshift shelters on trees,” said Parikshit Lohra.

Jharkhand has been witnessing large-scale devastation by rampaging elephants.

Herds of elephants damage standing crops, houses and kill people. More than 1,000 people have been killed by elephants in Jharkhand since the state was carved out of Bihar in November 2000.

The number of elephants in the state has increased from 624 in 2007 to 688 in 2012.

At least 154 elephants have lost their lives in the state for various reasons, including electrocution, being run over by trains and because they consumed poisonous substances.

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According to experts, human habitats developed on the elephant corridor have been causing conflict.

“We will immediately send a team of senior officials and all possible help will be extended to the families living on trees,” Sukhdeo Singh, Jharkhand Forest and Environment Secretary, told IANS.

“We are working on short- and long-term plans to minimise the conflict between humans and elephants,” he added. (IANS)

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UNICEF Calls for Action : 16 Million Children Continue to Suffer as Floods in South Asia Claim More than 1,300 Lives

According to data released by UNICEF, the unusually heavy monsoon over the last several weeks has claimed more than 1,300 lives across India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

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floods in south asia
India army soldiers carry children rescued from flood affected villages near Thara in Banaskantha district, Gujarat, India (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki) (VOA)
  • Floods in India, Nepal and Bangladesh have claimed more than 1,300 lives in the last two months
  • According to UNICEF, over 16 million children in the three countries are in urgent need of life-saving support
  • Persistent rainfall has damaged school infrastructure, apart from depriving children of safe places to stay at, and necessities like drinking water and food

New Delhi, September 4, 2017 : Hurricane Harvey created havoc in Houston in August, claiming 15 lives and displacing tens of thousands of people. The event was largely covered by national and international media alike, keeping people abreast with the latest updates. However, the floods in South Asia, which are equally devastating, are yet to receive due coverage from international media. According to data released by UNICEF, the unusually heavy monsoon over the last several weeks has claimed more than 1,300 lives across India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

In its entirety, over 45 million people have suffered the direct impact of the rains and its resulting floods.

Floods in South Asia

For over two months, incessant rains have submerged numerous villages thereby forcing vast numbers of people into evacuation centers and relief camps.

According to a UN Agency report, over 16 million children residing in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh are in dire need of life-saving support due to weeks of torrential monsoons that have given rise to ‘catastrophic’ floods in the three South Asian countries.

UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia, Jean Gough noted that millions of children have already been affected by these devastating floods as incessant rains continue to pose potential threat.  “Children have lost their homes, schools, and even friends and loved ones. There is a danger the worst could still be to come as rains continue and flood waters move south,” she added, according to a report by PTI.

According to official figures, at least 1,288 deaths have been reported since mid-August.

Gough believes the persistent rainfall and the resulting water accumulation have damaged school infrastructure among other things which will hamper children from attending classes for weeks, or even months. According to her, “Getting children back into school is absolutely critical in establishing a sense of stability for children during times of crisis and provides a sense of normality when everything else is being turned upside down”

Among other urgent needs of these children are clean drinking water, sufficient food supplies, hygiene supplies to control and combat the spread of potential diseases and safe evacuation places for the children to stay at, study and play.

ALSO READ Thousands displaced in Myanmar due to floods

Devastation from floods in India

According to a report by PTI, in the northern part of the country, over 31 million people have been affected in four states due to the extensive flooding. Out of this, 12.33 million sufferers are believed to be children.

The tally of houses damaged by the floods has reached 805,183 while 15,455 schools have been damaged, that has disrupted the education of children.

Additionally, the heavy downpour in Mumbai has already claimed five deaths due to drowning while twelve people, including two children have died due to the collapse of a building.

ALSO READ Why do buildings collapse?

Rescue operations are being undertaken in these states by their respective state governments, which include carrying out relief, recovery and rehabilitation operations.

Furthermore, the state governments have also sought multi-sectoral planning and coordination support from UNICEF in the three worst affected states. These include Bihar, Assam and Uttar Pradesh.

Devastation from floods in Bangladesh

According to Oxfam, with the rising water levels, the flooding is believed to be the worst since 1988 with nearly two-thirds of the country currently submerged under water.

More than 8 million people are reported to have been hit by the floods in Bangladesh, out of which 3 million are allegedly children. Primary and community educational institutions across the country have been terribly hit with as many as 2,292 schools reportedly damaged by the high water.

The country has also reported over 13,035 cases of water-borne diseases.

Devastation from floods in Nepal

Floods in Nepal have displaced 352,738 people from their homes, thus, affecting over 1.7 million people. The water has reportedly surfaced to dangerous levels, to escape which people are making use of makeshift rafts and elephants for rescue operations.

According to a report by PTI, damage to nearly 1,958 schools has affected the education of over 253,605 children.

Major media giants across the world are pledging their support to help combat the scale of  destruction.

In a blog post, Google Vice-President of South East Asia and India wrote, “We are committing $1 million from Google.org and Google employees to Goonj and Save the Children for their relief efforts.”

The NGO, Goonj aims to offer assistance to over 75,000 affected families across India and provide them with basic needs like food, blankets and hygiene supply while on the other hand, Save the Children is focused on setting up child-friendly public spaces for the children to have access to educational material.

Similar organizations have taken up an active role to help rebuild infrastructure for the community like roads, bridges and physical infrastructures.

What causes floods in South Asia?

Apart from the high magnitude of rainfall received this year, the floods in south Asia are believed to have been aggravated by human actions such as reckless construction on floodplains and in the coastal areas, waterways clogged by garbage and a faulty drainage system

According to a report published by VOA, experts have pointed out the inefficiency of the governments of the three countries and have said that is has become increasingly evident that the South Asian governments were unprepared for the annual monsoon showers.

However, disaster management officials also assert that it will be unfair to criticize the governments in view of the magnitude of the floods this year.


 

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ONGC and Unesco Join Hands to get India’s Largest Coastal Lagoon ‘Chilika Lake’ the World Heritage Site Tag

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  • Efforts can finally lead to the declaration of Chilika Lake as a heritage site
  • Shigeru Aoyagi assured that he would put in his best efforts to enable the declaration of Chilika Lake as a Unesco World Heritage Site
  • ONGC Director D.D. Misra said the company would carry out a comprehensive conservation and development plan in and around the lake area

Bhubaneswar, June 21, 2017: A joint team of the ONGC and Unesco has carried out a preliminary survey for the conservation of Chilika Lake to help the country’s largest coastal lagoon secure the world heritage site tag, said an official on Wednesday.

“With the objective to declare Chilika Lake as a Unesco World Heritage Site, both Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) will work together,” said Shigeru Aoyagi, Unesco Chief Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

“In order to get world heritage site recognition, it should have outstanding global value in terms of biodiversity and eco-system. The state government has assured us to provide full support to conserve the lake,” he added.

During their visit to the periphery areas of the lake, they interacted with various stakeholders in the village and local officials, where certain focal areas were identified to begin with, so that the efforts could finally lead to the declaration of Chilika Lake as a heritage site.

ALSO READ: Preah Vihear: Here is Why this UNESCO World Heritage site in Cambodia is popular among Tourists!

They also met Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who appreciated the ONGC-Unesco efforts for the comprehensive development of the eco-system of the lake, particularly the wetlands of Mangalajodi, which is intrinsically linked to the conservation of migratory and endemic birds.

Shigeru Aoyagi assured that he would put in his best efforts to enable the declaration of Chilika Lake as an Unesco World Heritage Site.

He said a comprehensive dossier with a detailed development plan of the ecosystem, including that of the inhabitants, by involving various central and state government ministries would be prepared.

ONGC Director D.D. Misra said the company would carry out a comprehensive conservation and development plan in and around the lake area.

He said the Unesco had also proposed to set up a world class conservation centre with a climate change observatory with state-of-the-art data and monitoring facilities. (IANS)

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Rajasthan Government stamps 1.5 Lakhs Houses with ‘I am Poor’ to take benefits from Centre

Rajasthan government's decision to stamp 1.5L houses with sign 'I am poor' in order to avail food subsidy has sparked a controversy

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'I am poor and receive ration from NFSA'
Sign outside BPL houses. Twitter
  • The government in Rajasthan stamped 1.5L BPL households with stamps ‘I am poor’ in order to avail food subsidies
  • Rajasthan government has been under attack for failing to fix its public distribution system
  • This decision has sparked controversies as the people feel humiliated 

Rajasthan, June 23, 2017: In a shocking incident, 1.5L houses in Rajasthan’s Dausa district were stamped with a message ‘I am poor, receive ration’. The decision to do this was taken so as to receive food assistance from the government. The stamp also included the full names of the people.

Local reports are flooding in alleging the Rajasthan government of this humiliating act. While the Rajasthan government believes that this step was necessary so that food assistance to BPL households is swifter and to eliminate rich families and middlemen, critics and opposition say, it is publicly shaming the poor.

‘I am poor and receive ration from Nation Food Security Act’ is the message that is to be put up. Furthermore, any household that refuses to comply with this act will not be entitled to the benefits, said the state government.

According to ANI, 70 percent families in Dausa district currently benefit from the welfare scheme. The houses marked are particularly in Sikrai and Bandikui tehsils. These BPL households mainly comprise of the backward classes, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, and other minorities.

There is a possibility that this is a clear cut case of class profiling. Needless to say, the people are not happy. Families are disappointed in the government and believe that the program was unnecessary for a few kilograms of wheat.

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394