Quake-hit elderly feel 'mocked' as agencies give 'wrong' relief goods

BHAKTAPUR: Elderly survivors of April 25 earthquake - both women and men - in Dudhpati in Bhatktapur were in dismay when they got relief materials recently.

The reason for the dismay is that a United Nations agency provided them sanitary pads!

Instead of providing them with their immediate needs - food items, clothes and other daily consumables, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) distributed sanitary pads to elderly people living in a temporary settlement on the Na Pukhu river bank in Bhaktapur.

"What's the use of such items? They could rather bring us food items and clothes than such items which are of no use to us," remarked a 78-year-old Shanta Shrestha.

Furthermore, the senior citizens, especially men, in the temporary settlement here have expressed their dissent over the relief materials for the package contained only soaps, brushes, toothpastes, combs and sanitary pads among other toiletries.

Bishnudevi Byanju opined that it would have been better if the UNICEF had distributed them food items. "Our hearts are overloaded with pang and pain and our immediate need is food items," shared the 70-year-old Byanju.

Likewise, a 67-year-old Padam Sundari Bati said that her immediate need was a roof (corrugated zinc sheets), warm clothes or bedding articles as the roof in her makeshift shelter has developed a pore lately, allowing cold air to creep into her shelter in the night.

Likewise, Dipmaya Tukbanja, another elderly, argued that she would be grateful if she was given biscuits and breads instead of sanitary pads.

"We now do not expect anything useful from relief distributors. Our hopes to receive the required materials are fading," added Jagat Maya Pakka, another dismayed quake-hit woman.

Manoj Duwal, a 32-year-old man with physical disabilities, said, "As soon as I receive such unsuitable items in the relief materials, I choose not to take them home. Rather, I give the stuff back."

The quake victims in this locality argue that such a haphazard distribution of the relief materials has mocked them, instead of helping them in subduing their woes and discomfort.