Wednesday, April 29


Megalopolis freaks and their political cadres ignored the countrysides and now water shortages, disease, overcrowding, and natural disasters are starting to tally the price

Nepalese police push back residents who began protesting after waiting for hours in line to board buses from Kathmandu. Photograph: Prakash Nathema/AFP/Getty Images via the Guardian

If this story sounds familiar, I wrote recently that many Sao Paulo residents have fled awful conditions in the megacity as water shortages there worsened this year. This is just the beginning of flights from many badly overcrowded cities that are unable to provide even basic services for all but the well off.  
The exodus trend back to the countrysides is getting a boost in the aftermath of the quake in Nepal, which finds the government there overwhelmed by the disaster, only worsening conditions in Kathmandu, another of those villages that grew topsy-turvey into a city -- in this case, more than a million people with foreign tourist influxes of more than 300,000 during the season.
By the way Nepal's water situation even before the earthquake was a disaster in itself. 
From the Guardian, April 29 (full report includes an update on the allover disaster response in Nepal).

Kathmandu daily exodus may reach 300,000 as residents flee chaos

More than 100,000 have already left the badly damaged capital of Nepal, heading for distant regions to escape the threat of aftershocks, lawlessness and disease
Queues up to half a mile long formed in the capital Kathmandu on Wednesday, as people who have had to survive on little or no food and water seized the opportunity to receive badly needed essentials.
As a Save the Children convoy passed through the city on its way to villages near the magnitude-7.8 earthquake’s epicentre, it became clear that thousands of residents simply have nowhere to go, their homes having been flattened by violent seismic movement late on Saturday morning.
There were chaotic scenes at the city’s main bus station, where riot police intervened as hundreds fought for the few available seats to get back to distant villages to be with their families or check on property. To a man, woman and child, they looked haggard, tired and worried. [...]

From CBS News, April 29:

Nepal quake sparks exodus of fear, frustration
CBS News correspondent Seth Doane reports that in the capital of Kathmandu, frustration is mounting fast over the response to the disaster, and people are trying to get out of the badly damaged city.

Thousands are fleeing to villages or family homes outside the valley in which Kathmandu sits, some to check on their loved ones, others hoping life outside the ancient capital will be better.

On the streets of Kathmandu, Doane found mounting frustration -- people protesting what they consider government inaction -- and police in riot gear for the first time since the quake.

Hundreds of people lined up in dismal weather to try to get out of the capital. The government is offering free bus tickets to remote villages, but the buses are overflowing and tickets are scarce.

Smita Rai, 16, said she felt lucky to get one.

"I am leaving this, Kathmandu, because we cannot stay now here because of various diseases," she told Doane. She wants to go back to her family home.

Nearby, at a camp for those displaced by the disaster, Doane found more people on the move. They came to avoid the aftershocks, but now they're leaving, also out of fear of spreading illness.

Doctor Roshan Kumar was tending to the ill. He said he's hearing more and more of those fears, and he says they're not entirely misplaced, "because some communicable disease are due to the overcrowding."

He told CBS News the first disaster was the earthquake, but he worries a second one could be coming in the form of a public health crisis.
See also: Wall Street Journal, April 29, Aftermath of Nepal Earthquake Widens the Country’s Political Divisions: Maoists criticize prime minister for moving too slowly, being ‘insensitive’

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