Dipawali fails to illuminate landslide victims

SANKHUWASABHA: Tihar — the second great festival of Hindus — is being celebrated throughout the country with much fanfare. However, it holds no significance for the landslide-displaced people, who have been residing in temporary camps for over two months.

Much to their pain, the sounds of firecrackers, illuminated locale and Deusi songs and dance have just been reminding the displaced locals of Tamku VDV-9 and Bala VDC-8 and 9 their Tihars of yesteryears.

Altogether 225 villagers of Tamku VDC-9 have been taking shelter in make-shit camps at Majkharka. Similarly, other 400 people of Bala VDC are also sheltering in the nearby village.

Dashain festival too was no different for them.

District secretary of CPN-UML, Kawansen Rai, said that there was no question of celebrating festival as the victims were still facing problem of bread and butter. “The festivals have added grief to the victims rather than joy,” he said.

Adal Bahadur Rai, a victim, said, “Celebrating festival has become our dream.’’

Local leader of Nepali Congress Usha Karki chastised the government for neglecting the flood-hit. “The victims have been continuously living in misery, but the government has not been serious for their permanent settlement.’’

The victims have lost all the property in the nature’s fury. Though they long to go back to their villages, the victims cannot return to the village as the local authorities and the District Natural Disaster Rescue Committee have suggested them not to return for some more days due to impending danger of landslide. Among others, condition of senior citizens and minors is worsening every day. They are finding it difficult to cope up with the growing cold weather condition in the camps.

Meanwhile, acting CDO Rajendra Sigdel said that they were looking for the area for the permanent settlement of the victims. Thirteen persons were killed in the landslides in the villages.

Relief eludes disaster-hit on Tihar

Dipayal: While the people elsewhere are making most of Tihar, the festival of light, the flood victims of Doti district are wondering how to arrange for next meal. They had been expecting relief materials from the government and other organisations before the festival, only to face disappointment. “The flood swept away all our property,” said victim Kusal Singh Setthi, a resident of Gadeshera village. He is taking shelter in a neighbour’s cowshed. “How do you expect me to have celebrations at this inoppurtune time?” he wonders.

Neither the government nor an NGO has come to their aid. A government team, which visited the affected villages, said 14 families in Doti’s Lana Kedareshwor VDC are staying in a nearby jungle while victims of numerous other VDCs have nowhere to live.

Landslips in the district have displaced 100 families. Relief has reached only the VDCs surrounding the district headquarters. “We provide relief to victims who approach us,’’ said the acting CDO. We were unable to provide relief to victims before Tihar, he admitted. — HNS