Police in Capital tear down earthquake victim camp

KATHMANDU: Police tore down hundreds of temporary huts Tuesday in Kathmandu where people have been living for two years since losing their homes in the 2015 earthquake.

Police in riot gear used bulldozers to tear down about 440 huts in Kathmandu without providing any alternative living options.

An estimated 2,000 people were living in the camp, belonging to a government-owned company and located near the Boudha shrine in Kathmandu.

Kathmandu's chief government administrator Him Nath Dawadi said it was already two years since the earthquake and that it was necessary to clear the land. He said the settlers had been given one month's notice.

"We gave them enough time to leave and told them to go back to their villages so they can collect the grant given by the government to build their own houses," Dawadi said.

He said the government was not going to give any compensation for the huts they lost.

There were no scuffles with the police, but residents had to rush to collect their belonging out of the huts made from bamboo, tarpaulin and plastic sheets.

"Our home is destroyed. I have no idea where I am going to go and live with my one-year-old baby," said Chameli Pariyar, 40, who said she was too sick to work and planned to beg in nearby temples.

Nepal's government has been criticized for the slow response to helping earthquake victims.

The National Reconstruction Authority has said it has distributed the first installment of a $470 government grant to 450,000 families to rebuild their homes, while 41,000 houses damaged in the earthquake has already been rebuilt.

Foreign countries and donors have pledged $ 4 billion in help for reconstruction, out of which the government had signed agreements with them for $2.6 billion.

The Boudha camp was the largest such camp Kathmandu set up for people displaced by the earthquake and the first one to be torn down by authorities. Officials said there was no plan to tear down other camps.

The April 2015 earthquake killed 9,000 people and damaged nearly 1 million houses and structures in Nepal.