Nepal | July 12, 2020

Bara freak storm victims left in a lurch

Prabhat Kumar Jha
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Children eating next to the debris of homes damaged in a freak spring storm that hit Bara and Parsa districts on Sunday, at Purainiya village in Bara district, on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. Photo: AFP

Bara, April 2

Jentu Nesha of Pheta Rural Municipality in Bara has been spending nights under the sky since the deadly freak storm hit her village on Sunday. The disaster blew away the roof of her house, causing damage to everything inside.

“We do not have food to eat or any clothes except what we are wearing. I’ve started to beg for milk to feed my kids,” said Nesha, who has four children, one of whom pulled her and other families out from their house on Sunday when the disaster struck.

Nesha has heard that relief materials are being given away to victims of the disaster. “But we have not received anything yet,” she said.

Many locals like Nesha of Pheta Rural Municipality have been left homeless by the disaster. They are spending time squatting outside their ruined homes waiting for relief materials to arrive. They scour the rubble for food and grains, but many find none.

“I don’t worry much in the afternoon. But I get anxious as night starts falling,” said Narjaha Khatun, 28, of the same rural municipality, who has been living in the open since Sunday. The mother of four, whose husband, Hadish Miya, and father-in-law, Kamarul Miya, are undergoing treatment at National Medical College after suffering injuries, broke down as she told this to THT.

“Finally the local body has started providing meals, but we still do not have a roof above our heads,” she said.

Pheta Rural Municipality was worst hit by the storm. Around 600 houses in wards 1, 3, 5 and 6 of the rural municipality have been completely damaged. But it is not exactly known how many have become homeless and whether they have received relief materials.

“Central and provincial leaders have been giving assurances of coming to the aid of these people. But the condition of these people is worsening,” said Pheta Rural Municipality Chairperson Amirilal Prasad, adding, “Neither federal nor provincial government has provided relief materials.”

Prasad said his office has managed to provide food and some relief materials to storm victims from today. But many doubt the local body has the capacity and resources to reach out to all the victims of a disaster of this scale.

“Some people came and gave us biscuits and beaten rice today. These people won’t return to our place again. So, what will we eat next?” asked 65-year-old single woman Ajera Khatun, whose two sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandsons were injured in the storm and are receiving treatment at Kalaiya Hospital.

The provincial government today said it was making efforts to provide relief materials to victims. “Efforts are under way to send food items, medicine and tents to storm-hit areas,” said a provincial government source.


A version of this article appears in print on April 03, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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