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Kuling: One Storm, One Village, Many Lives In Danger

Have you heard about Kuling? It is a small village located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. It lies 179 km away from Dehradun. It has a mere population of  300 people, and it is existence is on the verge of disappearance.

View of the village of Kuling

Huge cloudburst in Kuling village

On 15th July there was a huge cloudburst in the Chamoli district which caused a huge landslide that hit Kuling the worst. The landslide took away the only bridge that connected the villagers of Kuling to the main village of the area, Lohajung, and the rest of the world.

Roads broken, fields disappearing and houses in danger 

Roads blocked, Houses broken
The roads were broken and blocked by huge boulders. The roads are in such a bad condition that it has turned into rivers. The villagers of Kuling, fear their lives every single day. A lot of the villagers have lost their fields. Their houses have developed cracks which have led them to move up near the road and live in tents. Others houses have got flooded, having to find the emergency solution, like sharing their room with their neighbours or relatives. Houses have and are collapsing

Schools shut down

During this period the schools were still running. However, on 20 July the principal wrote a letter to close down the school. In the letter, he explains that there was a landslide that occurred on 15th July, and since then it has been very difficult for the students to go to school. There are huge cracks in the way and the landslide is slowly taking away the land near the school. Due to this, he finds it extremely dangerous to continue the proceedings of school.

Cracks on the path to the school/Kids witnessing the damage first hand
The kids are afraid of the situation of their villages, their houses and their school, ‘The storm has taken away the bridge. Every night, we fear to sleep since water is entering our houses. Cracks have reached 3 people’s houses, and it moving upwards. The fields are breaking off every day” explains one kid from Junior Government School of Kuling.

No media coverage, no help

There is no help from outside and media coverage on this incident is very rare since this village is remotely located in the region of Uttarakhand. An action is required urgently, yet basic products as food are starting to be needed. Families are starting to move to other villages.

The situation one week after

Temporary bridges have been built to access Kuling
One week later, the villagers made a temporary wooden bridge to reach their village. The villagers are still struggling for their day to day existence. There are a severe food and water shortage. The elders confirmed that they have never seen such a landslide in their life before. The government has started to react and has sent trucks with tons of steels to start the construction of the bridge.

Immediate action is needed

The scenario in Kuling is very critical since it is built on the sandy land. They have no water, no electricity and no food. Houses are collapsing and they are moving to other villages. Rebuilding a new house in the same village is equally dangerous as the geology of the composition of the ground would be the same.

Green Trails Project asking for action

As part of the Green Trails Initiative of Indiahikes, we have been working in Kuling during the last months. Teaching environmental studies in the school and developing a project around waste management has brought us here.

“Safe Kuling!” made with plastic to help spread the word
That is the reason why we have been aware of the situation firsthand and we realised that we have to take action. So what we ask is you to take action too. The village of Kulling is working on finding a solution but government support is also required. This will only be achieved if make the world aware of what has happened.

It is not just the village that is in danger to disappear, but the people who live there.

If you need more information, don’t hesitate to contact us, we will guide you how you can help.

Shared by
Payal Singh 

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