A message comes through on my mobile:
DC Sgr has directed all Patwaris, Girdawars, Naib Tehsildars and Tehsildars to immediately start damage assessment within their areas.” Translated it means the government agents responsible for finding out how bad the rains are need to get out to their villages and ask.
What used to be a road and then an excellent (and ancient) path to Achinalungba didn’t hear the footsteps of assessors. But the Sarpanch came (regional mayor). He’d lost his house in the 2010 floods in this nalla (canyon) and knew it would be bad. The satellite phone connection is still out and the villagers can’t communicate.
Looked like over 50% lost over 50% of the harvest. And just like tornadoes seem to hit mobile trailer parks – it was the kangbus, with just a grannie or grandpa living there, that lost the most. They had only planted 4 fields this year one api told me as she held up a bundle of rotting barley. “My arthritis makes me slow,” she added, as she finishes a work day that few 20 year old North Americans could do. They’ll have last year’s food for this year – 90% of this year’s is rotting.
The DC will now collect all the data, look at his budget, ring the PM and have him look at HIS budget and figure out what he can do to make the winter easier. He too knows that the future of Ladakh depends on maintaining a farming culture. But in the Western Himalayas (the poster child for climate change), it will be a farming culture adapting to rapid and destructive change.