Blaze-hit refugees waiting for relief

Damak, November 12:

Bhutanese refugees in the Beldangi camp in Jhapa are still trying to retrieve their burnt belongings after a blaze swept through the camp right on the Laxmi Puja day.

Four days have passed since the inferno but the 68 refugee families are yet to get any significant relief. The fire broke out in sector A of the camp. Some 39 tents and huts were reduced to ashes.

The Damak area police office said property worth Rs 27 lakhs was burnt in the fire.

The refugees are spending their nights in Green Valley School but are bereft of a change of clothes and devoid of blankets, said camp secretary KB Gurung, adding that the elderly refugees were facing great difficulties.

A distraught Homlal Timilsina, who lost all his belongings in the fire, said, “I am sleeping on the cold ground at night. I have nothing left except these clothes on my back.”

Armed Police Force base camp commander DSP Raj Kumar Lamichhane said no relief has arrived for the affected refugees except a few NGOs provided food grains to them. The Armed Police Force, Lions Club and Damak Chambers of Commerce and Industries provided beaten rice and rice to the refugees.

The donor agency, Lutheran World Federation has offered to build huts for the affected refugees, said DSP Lamichhane.

Bhutan People’s Party president Balram Poudel said arrangements for community kitchen have been made but clothes are in short supply.