Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rainfall over Nepal receding relatively (except in Jhapa): Rainfall Prediction for South Asia for the period of July 30-August 6, 2007

Rainfall over Nepal for July 30 - August 6, 2007:

The rainfall for the period July 30-August 6 over Nepal is shifting towards western part of the country, and is mainly on lower half, that is where most of the rainfall will take place (in Mid and Far-western development region’s lower half portions). Otherwise the amount of rainfall is receding all over the country, and perhaps that will be a window of opportunity for relief and rehab operations. The south-east Jhapa district and parts of Illam will get quite some rains.

Please refer to earlier post (July 30, 2007), same statements apply.

Image 1: Rainfall Prediction for South Asia

Rainfall in South Asia: Bangladesh rains are receding too. The West coast of India is getting more rain again. Max rains are concentrated in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal for the week in South Asia.

Image 2: Rainfall for Asia continent

Thanks to CPC NOAA for the maps.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Nepal flood and Landslide situation as of July 29, 07: Nepal Red Cross Society

The following map depicts the flood and land slide situation in a nutshell, as of July 29, 2007 in Nepal.

Source: NRCS

After a lot damage last week, rains are receding: NOAA CPC prediction for July 29 - August 5, 2007

Many Terai district settlement and infrastructure is under flood water, and the death toll due to floods and landslides has raised to 72. Thousands of people are familes are displaced, and many children have died due to the spread of water-borne disease. Find below some notes on rainfall for this week:

Monsoon Highlights:

The rainfall synopsis for Nepal for July 29-August 5: The area under very heavy rains (150mm and more) is very less today (5-8% from 90% last week), and the area under just heavy rains (100 mm or so) is just 35%. Situation seems to be slightly improving; actually little rain in the eastern part of the country across the hills and plains. However, heavy rains are predicted in the far-west part of the country, especially in the plains and hills of Kanchanpur, Kailali, Bardiya, and Banke. Surkhet valley will have high rains as in the past, no less. Although the above terai districts will have heavy rains, the extent or the area of heavy rain is small, and is localized, so the flooding will continue at smaller intensity than the last few days.

Image 1: SOuth Asia Rainfall Prediction

The Terai districts of western and central Nepal - that are Kapilbastu, Rupandehi, Nawalparasi, Chitwan and Makwanpur will get rains above 150mm, same as last week, but, the upper reach of the streams in the area will have less rains. So, there is less chance of having serious and consistent flooding, although it is not possible to completely rule out possibility of flooding and submergence of settlements and infrastructure under flood water.

Eastern Nepal, especially, Jhapa will get regular high rains at its south-east part, but only few damaging incidents are expected there. The area upstream has less percentage area of high rains there.

Image 2: Asia Continent Rainfall Prediction
Bangladesh, India: The north-east part of india continues receiving heavy rains, although the rain concentrations are shifting more towards Madhya Pradesh and western part of UP and Bihar. The extent of rain area is not that widespread as in the last week. The western ghats of India rains are receding. However, the rain effect in Bangladesh continues to remain unchanged, due to continuation of heavy rains in Assam, Meghalaya and North half of Bangladesh, albeit the southern delta area seems to have relieved a bit. Here, the flow and submergence depends on what happens in the catchments of the Ganges and Brahmaputra anyway.

More updates tomorrow!

Thanks to NOAA CPC, who have presented rainfall prediction images for Asia.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

More Rains in Nepal coming week - Rainfall Prediction for South Asia and Asia Continent: July 25 - August 1, 2007

Here are two images showing expected rainfall in South Asia and Asia continent, provided by NOAA Climate Prediction Center
The above image for South Asia is subset of larger image covering entire Asia Continent given below.
One should look at the image and the given map legend to understand the rainfall scenario. In the map, Nepal is covered by top three classes/colors in the bar scale of precipitation. Minimum of 75 to 100 mm rains is there in every part of the country, although the area covered by this category is only in 5% of the area. The rest of 90% of the country is covered by a rainfall category which is in the range of 100 to 150mm. Remaining 5% is covered by a rainfall range of more than 150mm.

All this means, we should anticipate more rains than the last week (July 18-25) rains posted earlier. Districts in east and central east terai were mostly inundated in flood waters last week. What should expect this week? Even more. Expect more districts being soaked in flood waters especially in the Terai of Western, Central and eastern Development regions. The districts that are going to be affected are: Rautahat, Bara, Parsa, Makwanpur, Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Kapilbastu and Jhapa. The districts which were flooded last week - Mahottari, Dhanusha, will get more water as their upstream highmountains are getting more rains (especially Dolkha area) and expect more landslides in Central region hills.

The northern Bangladesh, Assam and Meghalaya have very intense rains coming week indicating increase in the water levels in the Delta plains, and expect more area in Bangladesh under water.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rainfall Prediction for Asia and South Asia for the period of July 18-25, 2007

Here are two maps showing rainfall prediction for the period July 18-25, 2007 presented by Climate Prediction Center, NOAA.

The maps show that although there will be rains over Nepal, the intensity will be significantly less than other parts in the region such North-central India, Assam, Meghalaya, Bhutan, Bangladesh. Heavy rainfall is limited to Dolkha, Manang, Bajhang (some in Darchula and Humla), and Jhapa. This map shows less pockets of heavy rains than the earlier predictions. However, the predictions remain unaltered for the regions in India's states of Assam, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttaranchal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Source: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/fews/global/asia/

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Heavy Rainfall expected over Nepal and the region: Rainfall Prediction for Asia and South Asia for the period of July 16-23, 2007

Here are two rainfall prediction maps presented by NOAA Climate Prediction Center, for Asia and South Asia for the period July 16-23, 2007.

Please note that heavy rains are expected in Nepal, mainly western part and rest of regions of Bhutan, Bangladesh, North India, Myanmar and Thailand, Indonesia, Indian and Pacific Ocean. All that means, we are in the midst of heavy monsoon season and must be prepared to deal with Floods and Landslides expected through out the region.

Source: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/fews/global/asia/south_asia/http://himalayandisasters.blogspot.com/

Ian Martin, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General's Press Statement

The following press statement was released by United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) recently, and reflects efforts made towards establishment of a peacefull democratic Nepal.

by Ian Martin
Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General

16 July 2007

I want to update you in particular on the two main aspects of UNMIN’s mandated support to the peace process: the monitoring of arms and armed personnel, and electoral support.

As you know, the second stage of registration and verification of Maoist army personnel was carried out at the main cantonment site in Ilam from 19 to 26 June, and the findings were presented on 27 June to the leadership of the CPN(Maoist), detailing those whom the verification teams assessed as aged under 18 on 25 May 2006, and others who were recruited to the Maoist army after 25 May 2006 and are therefore ineligible to remain in the cantonments. UNMIN arms monitors, together with the UNDP registration personnel and UNICEF child protection officers assisting them, were then ready to begin registration at the second site at Sindhuli, while at the same time cooperating with the Maoist army and the Interim Government regarding arrangements for the discharge of those found ineligible at Ilam. Maoist Chairman Prachanda however indicated that he wanted to have discussions with the Government and with UNMIN before proceeding, and these discussions could only take place after his return to Nepal from an overseas visit.

I met Chairman Prachanda last Thursday. Although he indicated his intention that verification should soon resume, he wanted further discussions to take place in the next few days before allowing it to do so. He indicated that these include broader discussions - beyond the issue of verification itself – among the eight parties and within the special committee of the Interim Government established in accordance with Article 146 of the Interim Constitution, to supervise, integrate and rehabilitate the combatants of the Maoist army. UNMIN recognizes the importance of such discussions, which must lead to eventual decisions regarding the future of Maoist combatants within the context of the future of the security sector, and we look forward to discussions with the special committee about the arrangements for those who leave the cantonments. However the important issue of security sector reform is primarily relevant to the future of those who remain in the cantonments after verification: it should not be a pre-condition to verification itself. I remind everyone that the Agreement on Monitoring the Management of Arms and Armies was negotiated between the Maoists and the then Seven-Party Alliance Government: it was they who agreed upon the criteria which UNMIN has been asked to apply and it is their responsibility now to enable us to do so in a spirit of cooperation. In accordance with the Agreement, the international community expects in particular that those who have been found to be under 18 on the relevant date must be discharged promptly. I expect to meet Chairman Prachanda again in the very near future to get the process under way again, both as regards orderly discharge and reintegration of those found ineligible at Ilam and as regards the beginning of verification at Sindhuli. One important aspect of our work at the cantonment sites has made further progress: last week saw the first destruction of explosive remnants of the conflict at the cantonment sites, and this will now go forward in cooperation with the Maoist army.

The Chief Election Commissioner’s briefing of the diplomatic community last Thursday reflected the substantial progress regarding planning for the Constituent Assembly election since my last briefing, and UNMIN’s electoral advisers have been working very closely with the Election Commission to assist this. This weekend saw the arrival of the first of 124 international United Nations Volunteers (UNVs) who together with 43 Nepalese UNVs will be deployed as district electoral advisers. By mid-August we plan to have deployed 48 international and 19 national UNVs to 28 district headquarters, from where they will cover another 31 districts. The rest of the district electoral advisers will be deployed in September, as we hope the monsoon will be coming to an end, so that we can extend their coverage to all 75 districts.

As you know, the first visit of the United Nations Electoral Expert Monitoring Team took place from 11 to 23 June. Their report has been submitted to the Secretary-General, who will shortly convey it to the Government and to the Election Commission. As soon as it has been received by them, there will be a press statement on its main findings and recommendations. The Electoral Expert Monitoring Team will make three further visits to Nepal, the next of which we expect to be in early August, and the last to include the period before, during and after the ballot itself. In the meantime, I fully support the request of the Government and the Election Commission for international and regional organizations, governments and NGOs to send as many international observers as possible. At the request of the Election Commission, the United Nations will assist in coordinating international observers through UNDP.

The holding of the election in a conducive climate still faces major challenges. UNMIN, and indeed the Secretary-General, have repeatedly stressed the importance of ensuring through dialogue that historically marginalized groups – Madhesis, Janajatis, Dalits, women and others – can accept that their legitimate demands for representation will be met by through the electoral system. I note that on Saturday the High-level Intra-party Coordination Committee of the eight-party alliance designated representatives to work with the Minister for Peace and Reconstruction in bringing to an early conclusion talks with Madhesi and Janajati groups. Such dialogue is also essential to the challenge of assuring public security, especially in the eastern Terai. UNMIN looks forward to being briefed on the Government’s plans for election security. But I welcome the recognition by many political leaders that the creation of public security and conditions conducive for the election in all districts and villages requires above all political cooperation, not just in Kathmandu but even more crucially at the local level. This must allow all parties – I stress all parties, not only the eight parties - to conduct their activities from now on without facing intimidation and violence.

I was pleased to participate on Saturday in the inaugural meeting of the Peace and Rehabilitation Consultative Committee, and to receive further confirmation there that the establishment of an independent national monitoring body is imminent. I stress as I have in the past the importance of its independence, and the urgency of the appointment of members of the National Human Rights Commission: both bodies are urgently needed to monitor progress in peace implementation, including the human rights commitment of the Comprehensive Peace Accord, and UNMIN and OHCHR can then intensify our own roles in monitoring or supporting national monitoring.

I want to end with a public appeal to all people and groups in Nepal: a plea for non-violence. It is sickening for those of us who wish to see a peaceful, democratic and inclusive Nepal to read daily of killings, assaults, threats of violence and destruction of public and private property. All such acts are criminal, whether or not they have a political dimension. When the opportunity beckons for all issues to be resolved through dialogue and a democratic process, no group will advance its cause, however legitimate, by such violent methods; and certainly they stand only to forfeit the sympathy of the international community.

Thank you.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Curry from Moringa Tree: Munaga kaaya or Munaga kaara Tomato kura

India's ancient tradition of ayurveda says the leaves of the Moringa tree prevent 300 diseases.

A beautiful compilation on Moringa Oliefera appeared here on October 3, 2007.


The wikipedia link for the Moringa Tree is here.

More info on Moringa: www.moringanews.org
Information on some medicinal value found here.
Commercial farming of Moringa in Thailand: http://www.portalmarket.com/moringatree.html

More links on Moringa:
Sanjeevani Herbals, a professionally managed drumstick company: www.moringa.net
Miracle Moringa - An article by Nancy Willis

Moringa oleifera: A Review of the Medical Evidence for Its Nutritional, Therapeutic, and Prophylactic Properties. Part 1. Jed W. Fahey, Sc.D. Trees for Life Journal

Moring gateway: Trees for Life Journal

Nutrition information on Moringa is here

For more info: Moringa News (MoringaNews.org)

We are thankful to Sivapriya for letting us use this recipe (its source linked at the end) that uses Moringa Tree beans to prepare a special curry. The reason for using this recipe is just to provide continuity to informing on Moringa Tree and its miraculous properties to eliminate malnutrition among poor children. If you see earlier postings, there are some on Moringa Oliefera, including this article from Nigerian Tribune. We have removed two photographs taken by the author of the recipe on request not use them here. Rather, the beautiful photographs are found at the link given at the end.

We have also provided an additional link here on the recipes using Moring Tree leaves. Here is the link for the leaf recipe, and below we have recipe using the pods.


Munaga kaaya or Munaga kaara Tomato kura
July 13th, 2007 — shivapriya
Drumstick curry with tomato gravy.

Munaga kaaya or Munaga kaara is popularly known as Drumsticks all over India, the reason they got the name from the fact that they do resemble the musical drumsticks. The drumstick tree is often referred as horseradish tree and the botanical name is Moringa oleifera.

"Photograph taken by Shivapriya removed on request"

Drumsticks are widely used in Indian cooking, especially in South India. The drumsticks are green skinned, tough, grows 1-2 feet long, and is a sticklike vegetable, which is surprisingly soft and fleshy inside. The opaque white flesh, surround the seeds ( shaped like a pea), covered in layers of skins, is sweetish and nutty, fragrant, and tasty to eat, when cooked.

Also the leaves are used a lot in Indian cooking which is highly nutritious, contains good source of beta-carotene, Vitamin C, protein, iron and potassium. Often these leaves are cooked with lentils and potatoes, used as a substitute for fresh spinach.
In some places even the flowers are used in cooking. This tree is a good source for calcium and phosphorus.

Drumsticks tomato curry is a simple sweet, tangy and spicy gravy curry, cooked with onions, tomatoes, minimal spices (like chilli powder and turmeric) and aromatic curry leaves .Sweet and creamy flesh drumsticks absorb all the flavors of tomatoes, onions and spices all the way when cooked has an irresistible taste and satisfies everyone’s taste which can served with rice and roties (Indian bread). Drumstick sambar (lentil stew) is a popular dish all over India.


Fresh tender drumsticks (4-5)
1 onion finely chopped
2-3 green chillies (chopped)
3-4 tomatoes chopped
1 twig of curry leaves
Fistful of coriander leaves (chopped)
Red chilli powder (accord to taste)
1/4th tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1-2 cups water

1 red chilis broken into pieces
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of hing
2 tbsp cooking oil


Cut drumsticks into 1″-1 ½ ” long pieces. Heat oil in a shallow pan and add the seasoning ingredients and sauté allow mustard seeds to splutter, put the curry leaves, chopped onions and chillies, turmeric and sauté till onions turn translucent. Now add red chilli powder, chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes become soft and mushy (it takes around 5-6 minutes). Add salt, drumsticks and 1-1 ½ cup water, cover the pan and allow it to cook on a low flame. Keep stirring in between till done (its takes 20-25 minutes). Add water if needed and adjust the seasoning. Cook for couple more minutes, turn off the heat garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice or choice of meal.

"Photograph taken by Shivapriya removed on request"

Notes and Tips

Do not over cook the drumsticks, don’t stir too much as the drumsticks will fall apart. You can slightly scrape the ridges (with peeler) if you want. The gravy should not be runny or thick. You can add little yogurt or cream at the end if you like. You can also add garlic. You can also use frozen drumsticks for this curry but the fresh tastes really good.


Friday, July 13, 2007

MORINGA: ‘Miracle plant’ with many healing powers

MORINGA: ‘Miracle plant’ with many healing powers
By Seye Adeniyi

Moringa plant; insets(L-R) are moringa flowers, friuts
and it's seeds
Many of the orthodox drugs being used to cure diseases today have their chemical formulations from herbs and trees, thanks to technological and medical advancement. Seye Adeniyi, in this report, X-rays the nutritional and medicinal benefits of a ‘miracle plant’ called Moringa Oleifera.

If you always complain of body pains, bowel disorder, headaches, fever, flunctuating body temperature, skin infections or diseases, as well as other ailments, then there is good news for you. Also, if you are the type that so much believe in foreign products especially drugs, and who does not believe that anything good can come out of Africa, as it is the attitude and belief of many people, then you need to have a rethink. However, for the benefit of those who have great delight and likeness for natural therapies especially what some people call alternative medicine, then you need to add this vital information to your knowledge. The news is that there is a plant which you might have been seeing either in your immediate environment or in your neighbour’s compound, but which you never given serious attention or probably, you always over-look, thinking it is irrelevant.That plants is known as Moringa oleifera — a shrub which our forefathers knew its worth and numerous benefits especially in the treatment of animal health, but which many of them did not document its nutritional and medicinal advantages for generation to come.

Every part of moringa oleifera plant, including the seeds and roots, are very useful in tackling many diseases like hypertension, chest infections, lung diseases, pains as well as skin infections. This is in addition to many other nutritional and medicinal usefulness. For instance, moringa seeds which have now become a “hot cake” in many African countries as well as USA and other Asian countries according to reports, sell for ten pounds for just ten seeds. The plant has many domestic names depending on the region or continent. Among the Yorubas, it is called Ewe-Igbale, while the Hausas refer to it as Sogele. The Ibos have their own name for the plant, just as it commands different names among different tribes. It is generally known as “drum stick,” and this is what the Asian as well as the Indians call it.

Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) has undertaken scientific researches on moringa plant, and has come to a conclusion that it is extremely nutritional and medicinal. The benefits have also been documented in some medical and nutritional journals, little wonder many pharmaceutical companies all over the world are seriously working on the plant to make a fortune from it by extracting its active ingredients to produce drugs for both human and animal benefit. Speaking with Chief (Mrs.) Grace Oluwatoye, a trained nurse, who is also a lover of traditional/natural therapy and a specialist in Moringa plant, she told Natural Health that the seeds of the plant are being used for water purification in some African countries like Zambia, Kenya, Malawi as well as in some developed nations of the world like China, Japan, Malaysia, USA and India.

“In Malawa for instance, the seed has become a major “chemical” for water purification process and it is as popular as any other drug in the country.” “To confirm this, just click to Google, and you will appreciate what I’m saying,” she stated. The flowers according to her, can be processed and used for the production of pesticides. Moringa flowers contain certain natural chemicals which insects and other pests cannot withstand. Many pharmaceuticals companies and pesticides-producing industries have realised this, and they are working on it. In fact, moringa contains a “safer environment-friendly chemicals.” It is not injurious to human health compared to other/pesticides which have some negative effects on health.” The bark of moringa plant is also useful for medicinal purposes. The oil from the seeds for instance is also used by pharmaceutical companies in the making of certain types of drugs, while the pulp from the tree is used in paper making industries. “This simply means that no part of moringa plant is useless as both human beings and animals have one thing or the other to gain from the miracle plant,” she stressed.

It should be noted that when processed into powdery or tea form and consumed, it detoxifies the body system, cleanses impurities in the arteries and works against the build-up of cholesterol. Other advantages of the plant popularly known as miracle plant in many African countries include boosting of body immunity to resist infections and diseases. For example, moringa leaves, when dried, processed and taken, fight the dual epidemic of HIV and hunger in African countries. In Lusaka, Zambia for instance, people living with HIV/AIDS are using it as a food supplement to improves their body immunity against infections. The same thing, according to Mrs. Oluwatoye, is said to be happening in Uganda, Kenya and Senegal where processed moringa powder is extensively being used to fight certain infections in people living with HIV. It is a very rich source of vitamin A, C, B-complex, E, K, as well as folate biotin.

It is a nutrient-rich food additive for pregnant and lactating women. It is also an immunity booster. Children having malnutrition also stand to gain from moringa plant as well as growing children having bone problems. It also prevents childhood blindness. On comparative analysis with other common fruits and vegetables based on gramme for gramme, moringa leaves, according to Mrs. Oluwatoye, contains four-times the calcium in milk, four times the vitamin A in carrots, two times the protein in milk, three-times the potassium in banana, and seven-times the vitamins C in oranges. “Little wonder it is referred to as “miracle plant.” Oluwatoye further stated that the World Council of Churches and Societies has endorsed the plant as a health-promoting vegetable, especially for children and for chronically-sick people. It has also recommended that the miracle plant should be used as an instrument for fighting poverty and diseases in poor countries of the world. She, however, encourages every family in the country to plant moringa in their compounds, not only for health benefits, but also as a money generating investment.

“Honestly moringa plant, though not as popular as other medical plants, is an unpopular “plant of life”; a divine gift to humanity. Once you can plant it using the seeds cuttings or the seedlings, and can process it yourself, then you are a doctor on your own. My husband is over sixty and I’m over fifty, but you cannot easily deduce our ages, because we look younger than our ages and moringa is one of our secrets. Even there are many learned fellows like medical experts, professors etc who do come to take the plant. Honestly, you need to see them looking healthy and young, she further stressed. Buttressing the efficacy of moringa plant in treating malnutrition as well as other diseases in children, Dr. Nurudeen Animasaun, a naturopath stated that without mincing words, moringa oleifera is a miracle plant especially in the treatment of certain diseases. It is also important to state that some companies in America are using moringa plants to produce soft-drinks and beverages, and as she put it, “it is being sold for a high price because people appreciate the health benefit compares to other beverages. Its also have high degree of detoxifying properties on the body.

Moringa plant is non-toxic according to different laboratory findings, even at high concentration. It is easily digestible, easy to conserve and easy to use as supplement or on most foods (adult or children). Moringa plant or its processed products has no caffeine like other beverages, thus escaping adverse effects like anxiety as well as other negative effects on health. You can also use it to enrich pap, porridge or oat meal.

Source: Nigerian Tribune

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Removing Gallstones Naturally

Here is an interesting post on removing Gallstones Naturally.

Removing Gallstones Naturally, Excerpt from “Total Natural Health Approach Towards Recovery and No More Cancer” Dr. Lai Chiu Nan’s Talk in Singapore

Posted in Home Remedies at 8:11 am by Doc Emil

Gallstones may not be everyone’s concern. But they should be because we all have them. Moreover, gallstones may lead to certain cancers.
“Cancer is never the first illness,” Chiu-Nan points out. “usually, there are lots of other problems leading up to cancer”. In my research in China, I came across some material which says that, “people with cancer usually have gallstones.”
We all have gallsontes. It’s a matter of how big or how small, how many or how few. One of the symptoms of gallstones is feeling of bloatedness after a heavy meal. You feel you can’t digest the food. If it gets more serious, you feel pain in the liver area.
So if you think you have gallstones, Chiu-Nan offers the following method to remove them naturally. The treatment is also good for those with a weak liver, because the liver and gallstones are closely linked.
For the first five days, take four glasses of apple juice everyday. Or eat four or five apples, whichever you prefer. Apple juice softens the gallstones. During the five days, eat normally.
On the sixth day, take no dinner. At 6pm , take a teaspoon of Epsom salt (Magnesium sulfate) with a glass of warm water. At 8pm repeat the same. Magnesium sulfate opens the gallbladder ducts.
At 10 pm, take 1/2 cup olive oil with 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice. Mix it well and drink it. The oil lubricates the stones to help its passage.
The next morning , you will find green stones in your stool. “Usually it floats” Chiu-Nan notes, “You might want to count it. I had people who posses 40, 50 or up to 100 stones. ”
“Even if you don’t have any symptoms of gallstones, you still might have some. It is always good to give your gall bladder a clean up now and then. You’ll find that your digestion will be much better afterwards.”

International appeal for US$49 million to support Nepal's peace process

WFP launches international appeal for US$49 million to support Nepal's peace process
10 Jul 2007 13:23:00 GMT
Source: WFP
Location: Kathmandu

WFP in Nepal is launching a US$49 million recovery programme to assist over 1.2 million people who continue to struggle daily with the effects of the recently ended eleven-year conflict between the Maoists and the Government.

According to WFP’s Country Representative in Nepal, Richard Ragan, this represents one of the largest UN initiatives to support the people of Nepal during the transition to a new democracy, and offers donors an opportunity to support a rapid, field-based approach to saving lives and improving livelihoods.


“Despite the political, social and security progress of the last six months, over one million people in Nepal are still struggling with the effects of the conflict – damage to critical infrastructure, and unequal access to basic services.

This is on top of food insecurity exacerbated by three years of drought, conflict related market disruptions and the ongoing tensions in the Terai,” said Ragan.

“Our goal is to provide immediate assistance so people can begin rebuilding their lives and be better prepared to participate in the historic process of reshaping Nepal as a peaceful, democratic and inclusive state,” Ragan added.

Supporting peace

The aim of the programme is to support Nepal’s peace process by providing the most conflict-affected communities with quick-impact economic opportunities and local assets that will serve as a tangible peace dividend, and contribute to longer-term food security in Nepal.

Under the year-long programme, WFP will provide food aid to some of the most conflict-affected communities in 28 districts across Nepal.

Programme activities will focus on three areas: critical infrastructure, return and reintegration, and non-formal education. The objective of community-based activities will be to improve market access, create short-term employment, and facilitate basic service delivery.

Critical period

“This is a critical period in Nepal’s peace process – expectations by the people are high. The challenge faced by the interim government – to address the root causes of the conflict while at the same time laying the foundation for a new democracy – is arduous.

With WFP’s deep field presence and experience at running emergency operations in Nepal, we are in the unique position to deliver immediate recovery assistance to remote, conflict-affected populations who have yet to benefit from the peace process,” Ragan said.

Conflict death toll

As a result of the eleven-year conflict, over 13,000 people have been killed, an estimated 200,000 displaced and thousands of cases of critical infrastructure damage have been reported.

WFP projects in Nepal benefit currently approximately 1.4 million people, including food assistance to over 108,000 Bhutanese refugees. Operations include emergency assistance to drought-affected people in Mid- and Far-Western Nepal, and food for work, school feeding, and mother and child health care activities.

Contact us

Brenda Barton
Deputy Director Communications
Tel. +39-06-65132602
Cell. +39-3472582217
(ISDN line available)

Gregory Barrow
Tel. +44-20-72409001
Cell. +44-7968-008474

Christiane Berthiaume
WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41-22-9178564
Cell. +41-792857304

Jennifer Parmelee
Tel. +1-202-6530010
Ext. 1149
Cell. +1-202-4223383

Bettina Luescher
WFP/New York
Tel. +1-212-9635196
Cell. +1-646-8241112

Heather Sutliff
Tel. +977-1-5535694
Cell. +977-9851019098

Source: Here

Friday, July 6, 2007

Water wheel winner

Water wheel winner

From Issue #355 (29 June 07 - 05 July 07)
Nepali Times

The Centre for Renewable Energy Nepal has won second prize at the international Ashden Award for sustainable energy for its work improving 2,400 water mills (‘Wheels of change’, #354). Lumin Shrestha, director of CRTN received the Enterprise Award from former US Vice President Al Gore in the Royal Geographical Society in London last Friday. The four-year-old water mills program has already helped improve the livelihoods of almost 100,000 households.

The centre plans to use the £10,000 prize money to develop a low cost means of generating electricity with a simple magnet alternator using a short shaft water mill to charges batteries that can be used for household lighting purposes. CRTN is supported by the Alternate Energy Promotion Centre and SNV-Nepal.


Diameter of earth got smaller by 5mm since 2002

It’s a small world after all: German researchers

Agence France Presse
Bonn, July 5:

The world is smaller than first thought, German researchers at the University of Bonn said today.
They took part in an international project to measure the diameter of the world that showed it is five millimetres smaller than the last measurement made five years ago. Dr Axel Nothnagel, who led the Bonn researchers, told AFP the difference was crucial in the study of climate change.
“It may seem a very small difference, but it is essential for the positioning of the satellites that can measure rises in sea level.
“They must be accurate to the millimetre. If the ground stations tracking the satellites are not accurate to the millimetre, then the satellites cannot be accurate either.” The scientists round the number up to 12,756.274 kilometres for the general public.

Source: The Himalayan Times

Two Indian companies in fray for Nepal airport project

Two Indian companies in fray for Nepal airport project

Kathmandu, July 05, 2007
First Published: 12:08 IST(5/7/2007)
Last Updated: 12:11 IST(5/7/2007)

Two Indian construction companies are in the fray for a project to improve Nepal's lone international airport in Kathmandu.

New Delhi's IRCON International Limited and an Indo-Nepal joint venture between Mumbai's Valecha Engineering Ltd and local partner YP Construction are among the six companies that have qualified to bid for the runway and taxiway overlay work at Tribhuvan International Airport.

The directorate of the Tribhuvan International Airport improvement project which is overseeing the work - said the entire project cost would be borne by the civil aviation authority of Nepal but declined to mention a figure on grounds that it was a confidential matter.

The bidding process is expected to take about two-and-a-half months.

The Indian companies will face stiff competition from the Chinese. The other four competitors are Sino-Nepal joint ventures.

Unlike the Indian companies, all four have some presence in Kathmandu valley. They are China Railway Engineering Corporation partnered by Nepali Tundi Construction, China Tiesiju Civil Engineering Group with Kalika Construction as its local partner, a joint venture between China Gezhouba Water and Power Group Corporation and Nepal's PS Construction, and Sinohydro Corporation with local partner Chitwon Co-Enepal.

Sinohydro Corporation hit the headlines this month when the local media reported that it had taken Nepali workers to work on a project in Oman without the permission of the Nepal government.

Over 400 Nepali workers are said to have been left stranded in Oman by the Chinese company that ran into trouble with the local authorities about the project cost.

The last time the runway and taxiway were overlaid was in 1996 when the contract went to a Chinese company, Sietco.

Source:Hindustan Times

NEPAL: Traditional water mill technology helps boost livelihoods

NEPAL: Traditional water mill technology helps boost livelihoods
05 Jul 2007 11:49:58 GMT
Source: IRIN

Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author's alone.

DHADING, 5 July 2007 (IRIN) - Sitting in a tiny water mill, popularly known as a 'ghatta' in Nepalese, 65-year-old farmer Ram Sharma waits for his customers to come with their wheat and maize to grind flour for a small fee.

Sharma built his 'ghatta' two years ago after he lost all his farmland and property in flash floods that devastated Dhading village in Makwanpur District, 200km east of the capital, Kathmandu.

In 2006 floods affected over 50,000 people, including tens of thousands who were made homeless. Nearly 2,000 animals were killed and over 10,000 tonnes of food were destroyed, according to the Nepalese authorities.

Life was already difficult for Sharma due to the decade-long armed conflict with Maoist rebels, which had been adversely affecting his livelihood and endangering the lives of civilians.

Sharma took out a small loan and built his 'ghatta' at a time when civilians were fleeing the villages and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were unable to provide enough assistance to impoverished villagers, he said.

All he needed was a tree trunk for the water runner, some timber to craft the turbine wheel, a stone grinder and a convenient stream.

Family fortunes on the up

Today, the 'ghatta' has changed the life of his family. "This ancient rural technology is helping my family," said Sharma happily.

Agreeing with him, Sharma's 19-year-old grandson, Ramesh, said: "We had given up all hope for our family's survival after we lost everything but all that changed due to our grandfather's knowledge about the 'ghatta'". Ramesh said his family was the first in Dhading to transform this local technology into a business.

Other low-income villagers are now also following Sharma's example and building their own 'ghattas'.

Sharma also manages to trade his flour in villages and local urban markets. He makes an additional income of nearly US$50 a month - a considerable sum in the countryside, where gross national per capita income was $22.5 a month in 2005 - according to the World Bank.

Dil Maya Tamang is another ghatta owner in nearby Basamari village where she runs a successful business and can now afford to school all her five children.

"Our lives have changed a lot thanks to the 'ghatta' which is so easy and cheap to build," said Tamang.

The technology has been used for over a century, according to local NGO Centre for Rural Technology (CRT), which has been helping to preserve and promote 'ghattas' all around the country.

"This simple rural technology is being used especially by the poorest farmers and is now becoming more popular in many remote villages, and opportunities are growing after the peace accord," said Damodar Pokhrel, a local rural technology expert.

Electricity generation

Pokhrel said there are nearly 100,000 'ghattas' all over the country but most needed to be upgraded to make them more efficient. Traditional 'ghattas' can be improved by upgrading the turbines and can be used not only for grinding food grains but also for small-scale electricity generation in villages off the national electricity grid, he added.

Efforts to improve traditional 'ghattas' were started nearly 36 years ago by Swiss engineer Andreas Bachmann who worked with Nepali small-hydro pioneers. Several local organisations and manufacturers, especially CRT, Kathmandu Metal Industries (KMI) and Nepal Yantra Shala (NYS) have followed up on the technology and improved 'ghattas' throughout the country. CRT alone has helped in the improvement of nearly 1,000 'ghattas' in over 40 districts and helped nearly 50,000 families around the country.

"The improved 'ghatta' can be very useful in electricity generation," said Nir Lama, a local community leader in Daraune Pokhri village, where he and local villagers have rebuilt their traditional mill into a multipurpose power unit (MPPU), which now helps to generate electricity in their village.

Nearly three years ago Lama raised funds among his fellow villagers to build the MPPU. Today, the improved traditional 'ghatta' helps to generate electricity and pump drinking water for nearly 100 households in the remote village.

"Improved versions have brought about positive economic and social benefits by increasing income and employment opportunities," said Shyam Pradhan, 'ghatta' expert from Yantrasala Energy, which helps build improved 'ghattas'. He said the initial investment is very small and the technology very simple.

In a country with over 80 percent of the population dependent on agriculture, the 'ghatta' is still the simplest, cheapest and most convenient way for farmers to earn a living, according to the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), a government organisation that has been actively involved in the development of traditional rural technology.

International aid agencies have also started to show active interest in supporting local NGOs to expand improved water mill programmes all over the country, according to CRT. Dutch government agency SNV (Netherlands Development Organisation) has been investing heavily in this rural technology, said CRT.


© IRIN. All rights reserved. More humanitarian news and analysis: http://www.irinnews.org

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Nepal 'Living Goddess' Loses Status

Nepal 'Living Goddess' Loses Status

Associated Press Writer
Published July 3, 2007, 3:26 PM CDT

KATMANDU, Nepal -- A 10-year-old Nepalese girl was stripped of her title as a living goddess because she traveled overseas to promote a documentary about the centuries-old tradition, an official said Tuesday.

Sajani Shakya had her status revoked because she broke with tradition by leaving the country, said Jaiprasad Regmi, chief of the government trust that manages the affairs of the living goddesses.

Sajani is among several "Kumaris," or living goddesses, in Nepal, and as one of the kingdom's top three, is forbidden from leaving the country. However, last month she went to the United States and other countries to promote a British documentary about the living goddesses of the Katmandu Valley. She is to return to Nepal this week.

"We have begun the process to search for a new Kumari," said Regmi, adding that a task force would determine suitable candidates.

Ishbel Whitaker, director of the film "Living Goddess" said she was shocked and saddened by this news and would make sure the girl's education was provided for. "The rule of not being able to leave was never a rule before.... Nobody ever said the Kumari can't travel" she said by telephone from London.

Whitaker said they filmed in Bhaktapur for a year. "We had been speaking with people we felt were authorities, and now these others are claiming they are," she said.

The film crew consulted anthropologists, the head priests of Sajani's temple and her parents, the director said. And she said the Nepalese Embassy helped arrange Sajani's trip to the U.S.

Living goddesses are worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists. The girls are selected between the ages of 2 and 4 after going through several tests.

They are required to have perfect skin, hair, eyes and teeth, they shouldn't have scars or wounds, and shouldn't be afraid of the dark. They always wear red, pin up their hair in topknots and a "third eye" is painted on their forehead.

Devotees touch the girls' feet with their foreheads, the highest sign of respect among Hindus in Nepal.

During religious festivals the girls are wheeled around on a chariot pulled by devotees. Living goddesses usually keep their title until their first menstruation.

The main Kumari lives a sequestered life in a palatial temple in the capital, Katmandu. She has a few selected playmates and is allowed outside only a few times a year for festivals.

Others like Sajani are allowed to stay at home, attend regular school and take part in festivals.

The government last year announced a monthly pension of $40 for serving and retired Kumaris. Previously, the main Kumari received only a gold coin during an annual festival and the other girls received whatever was offered by devotees.

Nepalese folklore holds that men who marry a former Kumari will die young, and so many girls remain unmarried and face a life of hardship.

Critics have said the tradition violates both international and Nepalese laws on child rights. But the film director said the Kumari tradition can be modern as well.

"Sajani seemed to be a great example of how the tradition can move into the modern age," Whitaker said. She said she made the film because the living goddess tradition is beautiful and worth capturing before it disappears.

* __

Associated Press Writer Carley Petesch contributed to this article from New York.

Copyright © 2007, The Associated Press


GMR bids for 4 hydel projects in Nepal

GMR bids for 4 hydel projects in Nepal



MUMBAI: GMR Infrastructure is looking at opportunities to invest in the hydel power business in Nepal. The company has bid for four projects with an aggregate capacity of 952MW in Nepal and another 1,456MW in India.

The group, which already generates power through conventional hydrocarbons like gas and diesel, has submitted letters of commitment from UTI Bank and Standard Chartered Bank for the Nepal investments.

The plan is to sell the power to India through Power Trading Corporation (PTC). The projects, being evaluated by the Nepalese government, are Upper Karnali (300MW) and Arun III (402MW). The company has also submitted bids for UMS II and III in Upper Marsyangdi, expected to be awarded soon.

Back home, GMR is planning to put in bids for nine hydel projects to generate about 1,456MW in Himachal Pradesh, says GK Raghunandanan, chief finance officer, GMR Power.

Sources said the ministry of water resources in Nepal has decided to award the hydropower projects to GMR, at the recommendation of the evaluation committee.

GMR has offered Nepal 33% free equity in the Upper Karnali, apart from 7.5% free energy. The proposal also includes two-and-a-half years to prepare for the project and four-and-a-half years for construction, including financing with a debt-equity of 75:25. In Arun III, the company will share 15% of the power in the first 15 years of operation and 10% for the remainder of the licence period.

Both the export-oriented projects are to be implemented on a Build Operate Own and Transfer (BOOT) model for a 30-year period that includes construction. After that, ownership will be handed over to Nepal. Besides the free power, Nepal also retains the right to purchase up to 10% of the power generated at the projects.

Source: Economic Times of India

Monday, July 2, 2007

$100 magic wand seeks to change Nepal kids' lives

$100 magic wand seeks to change Nepal kids' lives

Kathmandu, July 2: A magic more enchanting than any of the Harry Potter tales will sweep through Nepal soon, thanks to a pair of students who are working to take $100 laptops to children in the country's remotest and most underdeveloped villages, where there is no electricity or even books.

The "magic pencil" that will write such plots is the XO-Laptop designed and developed by Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology media laboratory.

Made especially for children aged between six and 16, the laptop is designed for rural areas of developing countries where electricity is elusive. They run on solar power, rechargeable batteries and even "human power", provided by cranking.

What makes the XO-Laptop tailor-made for Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world, is its price.

Negroponte's One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organisation is making the laptops available at $100.

When the news of his venture reached Nepal through the media, it set a pair of Nepali students thinking feverishly.

Shankar Pokharel and his friend Ankur Sharma, both fourth year students at Nepal Engineering College, were smitten by the vision and wrote to Negroponte, telling him Nepali children needed such computers.

When the American agreed, the pair last year registered the Nepal chapter of the OLPC to bring the $100 laptops to Nepal.

"We are giving priority to remote areas, like Jumla, Humla, Mustang and Manang," Pokharel told IANS. "Right now, we are working on the Nepali content."

Pokharel, now president of OLPC-Nepal, estimates the laptops will start arriving from next year. The organisation is working with the education and sports ministry and the major donors funding educational projects in Nepal will be approached for raising the money for the new tools.

Dubbed "Mero sanu sathi" - my little friend - the Nepali laptops will have a keyboard with both Nepali and English characters.

They are expected to take the place of books and class lessons in villages where neither is available.

Besides reading e-books, children can chat to share information, have meetings through video-conferencing, make music and play games online, skills that will sharpen reading and writing abilities.

Besides Nepal, only Pakistan from South Asia has shown an interest in acquiring the $100 laptops.

Neither India, the dominant partner in SAARC, nor any other members from the bloc has evinced interest in the project so far.

--- IANS


Sunday, July 1, 2007

NASA Satellite Captures First View of 'Night-Shining' Clouds

Polar mesospheric clouds, as they are known to those who study them from satellite observations, are also often called "noctilucent," or night shining, clouds as seen by ground-based observers. Because of their high altitude, near the edge of space, noctilucent clouds shine at night when the Sun's rays hit them from below while the lower atmosphere is bathed in darkness. They typically form in the cold, summer polar mesosphere region and are made of water ice crystals.
Image credit: NASA

WASHINGTON -- A NASA satellite has captured the first occurrence this summer of mysterious iridescent polar clouds that form 50 miles above Earth's surface.

The first observations of these clouds by the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite occurred above 70 degrees north on May 25. Observers on the ground began seeing the clouds on June 6 over northern Europe. AIM is the first satellite mission dedicated to the study of these unusual clouds.

These mystifying clouds are called Polar Mesospheric Clouds, or PMCs, when they are viewed from space and referred to as "night-shining" clouds, or noctilucent clouds, when viewed by observers on Earth. The clouds form during the Northern Hemisphere's summer season that begins in mid-May and extends through the end of August. They are being seen by AIM's instruments more frequently as the season progresses. The clouds also are seen in the high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere during the summer months.

Very little is known about how these clouds form over the poles, why they are being seen more frequently and at lower latitudes than ever before, or why they have been growing brighter. AIM will observe two complete polar mesospheric cloud seasons over both poles, documenting for the first time the entire, complex life cycle of PMCs.

"It is clear that PMCs are changing, a sign that a distant and rarified part of our atmosphere is being altered, and we do not understand how, why or what it means," stated AIM principal investigator James Russell III, Hampton University, Hampton, Va. "These observations suggest a connection with global change in the lower atmosphere and could represent an early warning that our Earth's environment is being altered."

The AIM instruments are returning valuable information on the global extent and variability of these clouds and preliminary information on their particle sizes and shapes. Early indications are that the clouds occur at high latitudes early in the season then move to lower latitudes as time progresses. The AIM science team is studying these new data to understand whether the changes in the clouds may be related to global climate change.

When the Northern Hemisphere summer season ends in mid- to late August, the AIM science team will not have to wait long before the Southern Hemisphere's season starts. This occurs about three months later in mid- to late November. The Southern season lasts until approximately mid-March of 2008. Early results from the AIM mission will be reported at a major international conference focused on PMCs and other high altitude layered phenomena to be held at the end of August 2007 in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The satellite was launched on April 25, only four weeks before the first science observations began. During the satellite-commissioning phase and now in routine observations, all three state-of-the-art instruments have been working exceptionally well and returning high quality data.

The Cloud Imaging and Particle Size instrument offers a 2-D look at the clouds, collecting multiple views from different angles. The cameras are providing panoramic PMC images of the Arctic polar cap daily. The Solar Occultation For Ice Experiment is measuring new information on cloud particles: their variability with altitude, the chemicals within the clouds and the environment in which the clouds form. The Cosmic Dust Experiment is recording the amount of space dust that enters Earth's atmosphere to help scientists assess the role this dust plays in PMC formation.

The AIM mission coincides with the two-year, worldwide scientific community's International Polar Year, and the mission is expected to make unique contributions to the International Polar Year's objective of advancing polar research.

AIM is the ninth Small Explorers mission under NASA's Explorer Program and is managed by the Explorers Program Office at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The AIM Project Data Center is located at Hampton University.

For related images on this story, please visit:
Source: GeoCommunity Spatial News



The Maoists supreme commander, Prachanda meeting the press before departing for his maiden trip abroad has said that Switzerland’s “Capitalist Federalism” could be a role model for Nepal.

He added, “Switzerland is a capitalist country and its federal structure could be implemented in Nepal”.

Our team will make a study while being there on which “federal state” model could suit Nepal’s environment, he continued.

He met the journalists at the VVIP lounge of the TIA before heading for Switzerland to attend a Socialist International Conference in Geneva, reports say.

Prachanda who looked more than happy to take the air-route towards Geneva said, this was his maiden trip to Europe.

Unsubstantiated reports said that he had a chat with the visiting Indian scholar S.D. Muni prior to his departure to Geneva. July 1, 2007

Source: The Telegraph