Nepal | April 22, 2019

Rains taking toll on quake displaced

Rajan Pokhrel
Twelve-year-old earthquake victim Meena Tamang of Dolakha in a tent near Bouddha in Kathmandu. Photo: Rajesh Gurung/THT

Twelve-year-old earthquake victim Meena Tamang of Dolakha in a tent near Bouddha in Kathmandu. Photo: Rajesh Gurung/THT


More than three months after the devastating earthquake struck the country killing over 8,900 persons, the situation here has turned from bad to worse in the camps housing displaced victims.

Bir Tamang from Naubise, Dhading, who lost four children along with his home and continues to live in a tent near Bouddha, said the rains had only deteriorated the life in camps.

“Three persons have already died here in the tents and new mothers, as well as children, are suffering from waterborne diseases,” Subash Rai, chairman of the Coordination Committee for the Taragaun (Chhuchepati) Earthquake Victims’ Camp, said.

Source: National Emergency Operation Centre / MoHA

Source: National Emergency Operation Centre / MoHA

The displaced victims said Rs 15,000 were not enough to resettle in their villages. Megh Singh Tamang claimed he had to spend around one lakh rupees to treat his broken leg at Jorpati-based hospital. He accused the government agencies of not providing proper care to the injured victims. “Where has the aid money gone?” asked Tamang, who hails from Dolakha but was rendered homeless by earthquake.

Most of those living in tents say vagaries of weather have made their tents uninhabitable. They want new tents to tide over the monsoon.

“We usually spend sleepless nights when it rains,” said Parbati Tamang, who was displaced from Sindhupalchowk and is sharing a perforated tent with five members of her family. She criticised the government for delaying reconstruction process. “When is the government going to resettle us?” she asked.

Lyle Boyle from Scotland, one of a dozen foreign volunteers working for the displaced, emphasised that the victims were in need of food, sanitation and healthcare. “Sanitation situation is not good, as it primarily affects vulnerable people, including children and lactating mothers,” he said.

According to Subash Rai, there were only 581 families in the camp in the first three weeks of earthquake but the number rose to 1,801 after more aid and relief was offered to the victims. “Now, it’s tough for the concerned agencies to depopulate the camps,” he said, adding, “There is a need to have a permanent resettlement plan at the earliest.”

The Chhuchepati camp provides shelter to nearly 7,500 displaced persons from quake-hit districts, including Sindhupalchowk, Gorkha, Dhading, Dolakha and Kavre. Half of those taking shelter in Chhuchepati camp are women, of which at least 96 have newborn babies.

A version of this article appears in print on August 04, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.

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