Flood victims languishing in temporary settlements

Surkhet, December 31

Four years after they were displaced from home, flood victims of Surkhet are still waiting for rehabilitation, thanks to lack of seriousness on the part of the authorities concerned.

Hundreds of families of Harihar, Taranga and Punathari of Barahatal Rural Municipality and Lekhparajul of Bheriganga Municipality in Surkhet were displaced due to monsoon floods in August four years ago. More than 1,000 persons of the 300-odd families are now languishing in temporary settlements in Birendranagar, Khimchu and Punathari.

They were hopeful that the relocation process would start promptly after a committee was set up by the province with this task, but now the victims distraught as nothing significant has happened by way of their relocation process five months after the committee was formed.

The committee led by Internal Affairs and Law Minister Naresh Bhandari of the province has studied the condition of flood victims all these months. It has, however, not prepared a report in this regard.

Committee member Yagya Dhakal, however, claimed that the panel has done a commendable job. “What didn’t happen in the four long years, we’ve done in five months, which is quite an achievement,” said Dhakal, adding, “The district administration had the data, but we decided to collect data ourselves and that took time.”

Further, according to Dhakal, details have been collected by classifying the victims into three categories. “There is one category of victims whose houses were damaged in the floods, while there are others whose houses and land was damaged, and still others whose land and houses were completely destroyed in the flood,” he said.

As per the modality prepared by the committee, those whose houses were damaged in the floods would be provided help to construct their homes, while those whose houses and land were damaged would get land and others whose houses and land were completely destroyed would be relocated.

“The committee has lately intensified its work by forming sub-committees and by the end of April, work related to relocation of flood victims will be completed,” Dhakal claimed, adding, that a sub-committee led by Khadga Bahadur BK has been assigned to select land to develop an integrated settlement for flood victims that need to be relocated.