August 17, 2017

Nepal: After the Storm

DISASTROUS AUTUMN: The storm came in October, when locals and trekkers least expected it. Nepal Army helicopters arrived on the morning after to ferry out the survivors of the blizzards and avalanche in Manang. (Photo via Nepali Times)

In a rare occurrence, a cyclone that started in the Bay of Bengal caused an avalanche in the Himalayas, killing at least 40 in Nepal. The even was a wakeup call to install effective early warning weather systems in mountainous Nepal’s higher reaches. Read More »

South Asia Needs to Face up to Water and Energy Dilemma

India’s annual water withdrawal is the highest in the world, but its water productivity is one of the lowest. (Image from Greenpeace via

South Asia’s water and energy crises are deeply intertwined. Growing energy demand drives water shortages and lack of water fuels power outages. Regional cooperation – such as power trading between countries – could ease tightening resource constraints but such solutions have been largely scuppered by political suspicions. Read More »

Nepal’s Mystical Dolpa in the Mist

Dolpa’s jewel is Phoksundo, a lapis lazuli-coloured lake, Nepal’s deepest and second-biggest. (Photo by Hum Gurung via Nepali Times)

Dolpa is one of the last two among Nepal’s 75 districts that doesn’t yet have a road connection and seeks to protect its pristine remoteness. Along with its rugged tree-less terrain, Dolpa’s jewel is Phoksundo Lake, a lapis lazuli-colored body of water, it is Nepal’s deepest and second-largest lake. Read More »

Modi’s Nepal Yatra

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepping out of his plane at the start of his Nepal visit. (Photo by Nepal Information Department)

Narendra Modi’s Nepal trip seemed to be personal, political and geopolitical, all rolled into one. The visit did gladden many Nepalis but left open the question as to how Modi plans to reach out to the other South Asian neighbors Read More »

Nepal Struggles to Curb Craze for ‘Himalayan Viagra’

Trading Yarsagumba (Photo by Uttam Babu Shrestha, via The Third Pole)

The rush to collect rare caterpillar fungus or ‘Himalayan Viagra’ has led to violent clashes and deaths since Nepal's government legalized the lucrative trade. Rising prices and soaring demand in recent years have driven a gold rush in mountainous regions. Yarsagumba fetches at least US$14,000 to US$16,000 per kilogram at the source and prices increase dramatically for traders further up the supply chain. Read More »

Drones Investigate Himalayas’ Melting Glacier

(Photo by Eduardo Soteras, Creative Commons License)

Scientists have used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – also known as drones – for the first time to monitor melting glaciers in the Himalayas more accurately. Read More »

Nepalis Fear as India Dykes Mahakali River

The border crossing between India and Nepal on the Mahakali river. (Photo by psyska2013 via

Last June, a flood in the Mahakali river – which marks a part of Nepal’s western border with India – swept away almost half of Khalanga Bazaar, a town that is the headquarters of Nepal’s Darchula district. The cause of the flood is still a debate. Most locals blame Indian officials, alleging that they opened the gates of the Dhauliganga dam upstream. This has been consistently ... Read More »

Finding the Roots of Poverty in Rural Nepal

A young girl cleaning rice in Nepal's Solukhumbu District. Poverty is particularly pervasive in Nepal's rural areas. (Courtesy of dZi Foundation)

Despite six decades of development interventions and nearly a billion dollars in annual foreign assistance, Nepal is still struggling to combat rural poverty. Some experts and local leaders say improving the lives of the rural poor requires patient community-driven initiatives and proper management of the resources communities already have, rather than large-scale strategies.   According to 2010 data from the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), a ... Read More »

Nepal’s Three Curses

Nepal will have 20 percent of its population over 60 in the next two decades. (Photo by World Bank Photo Collection)

The first curse of Nepal’s governance is domestic political failure, resulting in poor governance and continued destitution of this country’s long-suffering citizens.   The chronic mindless misconduct of politicians masquerading as ‘the people’s representatives’ is leading to another squandering of the electoral mandate. The horse-trading, wheeling-dealing, and backroom bargaining prove that the so-called rulers of Nepal have learnt nothing.   ... Read More »

Can Himalayan Hydro Power Bring Water Cooperation?

A river on Nepal-India border. (Photo by rajkumar1220, Creative Commons License)

Considering how often the fear of looming water wars is perpetuated in the media and blogosphere, you would be forgiven for not knowing that 2013 is the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation. But cooperation is not merely the absence of conflict, and indeed conflict and cooperation coexist in every relationship, be it between individuals or states managing trans-boundary ... Read More »