Himalayas tune in radio shows to reduce climate disaster risk

Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:15am EST
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By Sujit Chakraborty

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - "You know, humans do not understand that unless I am there to hold on to the soil, you will not be there either," the tree tells the mountain.

"Yes, but ... villagers demand a road, the politician pushes for it and they cut parts of me and cut you and your folks too, and then there is a landslide!" replies the mountain.

This unusual dialogue is heard by several thousand people tuned to Venval Vani, a community radio station based in Chamba, Uttarakhand, the north Indian state devastated by severe flooding in 2013.

Venval Vani began broadcasting programs on the environment and climate change in June this year, the first anniversary of the torrential rains that caused landslides and flash floods in and around the Himalayan town of Kedarnath.

The disaster swept away entire villages, killed more than 5,000 people and forced the evacuation of more than 100,000 others.

The radio program “Nau Par Vikaas Ka” (“In the Name of Development”) is one of several that now aim to raise awareness of ways to minimize the risks associated with the most severe impacts of climate change.

Elsewhere in Uttarakhand, on Kumaon Vani Community Radio, a talk show called “Bajauni Dhura Thandho Paani” (“Large-leaf Trees and Cold Water”) addresses deforestation and its effect on water supplies.

The program's title refers to the local belief that the best source of sweet cold water is near the base of certain trees.   Continued...