By Sharad KC

It was just another lazy Saturday afternoon when all of a sudden there was a wake up call. A call we Nepalese have been dreading for quite some time, although, we were never prepared for it. A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck at the heart of the country, and everyone was suddenly rushing for open space. I, too, made it through the initial seismic ride and ran out of the house. I had made it, I was alive. But, not everyone was so lucky. More than 9,000 people have already lost their lives from the initial quake and hundreds of aftershocks that followed which are still being felt every day.

This earthquake was a practical reminder from nature that we were sitting in one of the most active fault lines. From our earliest childhood, most of us were taught about the risks of earthquakes and the need for preparation in such an event. There were earthquake drills, teachers would teach extensively about various measures to be taken during an earthquake, and parents would constantly remind us of the need to find an open space. Yet, we weren’t at all prepared for a major earthquake. This quake is a wake-up call for us to be prepared for natural disasters, not just earthquakes but others such as floods, landslides, and avalanches.

In addition, the government has also been very slow to provide help and stabilize the situation. In fact, we cannot suddenly hope the government to act efficiently, especially in the case of natural disaster. I hope this is another reminder of a need for change in Nepalese politics. We have continuously been voting in the same incompetent politicians for over the past few decades. There have been quite a few political parties that have shown tremendous leadership potential by immediately providing help in the earthquake-affected areas. It’s about time that we wake up to clean up this political mess in Nepal.

Finally, there has been an overwhelming support from the international community. Foreign governments, companies, and individuals have been very generous in extending all forms of help. This is another advantage of living in a globalized world. Economically, Nepal needs to open up to the international market and reap the benefits of globalization. The protectionist economic policies have diminished the competitiveness of Nepalese companies. As a result, businesses haven’t been able to create adequate employment, thus making it harder for Nepalese to cope with a natural disaster.

Let us hope that all Nepalese wake up to the call of this quake to make Nepal a much better place to call home.