Monday, June 01, 2015
AP article on Nepal schools reopening may be overly optimistic
by Larry Geller
The paper today reports on the fundraiser for Nepal held Sunday by India Café in Kailua, and also that schools are re-opening in Nepal. I’m glad to see the occasional coverage of a country we’ve visited four times and are really concerned about.But the Associated Press school article didn’t ring true. And it is contradicted by tweets from authoritative authors in the country.
Without mortar in the walls, an unimaginable number of schools must have been destroyed. Whether or not re-construction is authorized, the schools in outlying areas will no doubt be re-built in the same way. Eventually. The long arm of authority in Nepal is really a short arm. Villagers can be expected to use the building methods available to them, even if they are unsound in an earthquake-prone country.
Other news from the country reports that people are rapidly migrating into Kathmandu. This article reports that nearly 16,000 people have left one place alone and are “swarming” into Kathmandu. Not only are the schools in that area not likely to be re-built any time soon, but the kids are now in a different place entirely—the capitol city, which was overcrowded before the disaster..
The report below would seem to directly contradict the AP story that is in your morning newspaper (snip of an article from kantipur.com):
In the districts, however, the situation remains bleak. Though schools conducted formal reopening ceremonies, many students were told to go home and return only after a week. School buildings all over the nation are dangerously damaged and many don’t have the wherewithal to conduct classes under temporary arrangements. “In Sindhupalchok,” reported author Aditya Adhikari on Twitter, “only 34 of 591 schools have managed to construct a tent or a shed.” Many schools have also lost teachers and students. The Sangkosh Higher Secondary School in Dhading mourned the loss of 240 teachers and students in the earthquake before ending the school day.
[kantipur.com, Back to school, 6/2/2015]
“Reports that schools have reopened give the false impression that normalcy is returning to EQ affected districts”
I have no way to test it except to resort to searching for tweets, and mostly in the English language.
Sure enough, there are doubts. See the sidebar.
Disasters—whether earthquakes or storms—have little staying power in the American press
American newspapers will soon leave news of Nepal behind, as they have left behind the massive deaths from climate change in India and before that the recovery from devastating storms in the Philippines. It would be far better for the press to directly deal with the effects of climate change and not hide the consequences of denying it.
And a hint to our local paper: you really don’t have to print those right-wing columns denying climate change. Just say “no” and be responsible editors. It’s your choice to print them—or not. Yes, your choice.