Heavy rains in India and Nepal have killed 15 people and displaced 2.3 million in just the past few days. Fortunately for approximately 600 foreigners who were visiting Sauraha, no additional lives were lost when the nearby Rapti River overflowed its banks. This is because elephants at the Chitwan National Park transported them to safety.
Said Suman Ghimire, head of a group of Sauraha hotel owners, “Some 300 guests were rescued on elephant backs and tractor trailers to (nearby) Bharatpur yesterday and the rest will be taken to safer places today.” The unconventional mode of transportation was necessary, as the flash floods left hotels and restaurants completely inundated.
The Chitwan National Park, which cares for 605 rhinoceros, is in better shape than Assam’s Kaziranga national park, which is home to the world’s largest population of the endangered one-horn rhinoceros. According to Reuters, nearly 90 percent of the Kaziranga park is under water. Fortunately, the animals have moved to higher ground.
Nepali relief workers say that 26 of the country’s 75 districts were either submerged or had been hit by landslides as a result of the heavy rains. Information and Communications Minister Mohan Bahadur Basnet added the death toll was expected to increase with at least 50 people reported missing.
The loss of infrastructure has also been devastating. Basnet said that more than 60,000 homes were underwater, predominantly in the southern plains bordering India. “The situation is worrying as tens of thousands of people have been hit,” said Basnet.
As a result of the natural disaster, regions in India and Nepal now face food shortages due to crop losses. This is exactly what climate change scientists said would happen as a result of increasing carbon emissions, which are fueling global warming. If humans fail to adopt sustainable habits, natural disasters such as this will only become more common.