Dhading, April 25
One year after the devastating earthquake of April 25, the quake victims in Dhading, whose houses were destroyed or who had left their villages due to risk of various post-quake disasters, are still languishing in temporary shelters.
While the natural disaster completely destroyed 81,313 houses, 7,228 houses were rendered uninhabitable given the damage caused by the powerful jolt.
Given the delayed resettlement, most of them don’t have any option but to continue living in temporary shelters.
“Those who are the well-to-do have reconstructed their houses on their own, but there is no way the impoverished ones can do the same,” said Kanchha Lama of Ri village.
“There is no telling how much we’ve suffered in this provisional shelter over the year and I’m very scared how my family will make it through the monsoon this year,” he added, asking the government to provide the grant of 200,000 rupees to reconstruct the damaged houses soon.
Another victim Prem Tamang of Tipling rued the delayed returning to the villages as the house reconstruction grant has not been released yet.
Krishna Bahadur Sunar of Baireni-8 said he has started building his house with loan. “I did wait for the grant, but what could I do? It never came.
I can’t compromise the safety of my family during monsoon,” said Sunar, hoping the government provides him the grant considering the urgent need to build the house on his own for the sake of his family’s safety.
As per details compiled by the district natural disaster rescue committee, the quake laid waste to property worth more than 69 billion rupees in the district, including 119,900 quintal food grains worth around 21.71 billion rupees that was buried under the debris of collapsed houses.
Similarly, the tremor claimed 680 lives and injured 1,393 others across the district.
According to Dhana Bahadur Ghale, lawmaker elected from Dhading Constituency No-1, the quake has inflicted more damage to the remote settlements in the north of the district.
“As many as 163 persons died in the remote villages in five northern VDCs Tipling, Lapa, Sertung, Jharlang and Ri that are not connected by road till date,” said Ghale, adding, “Though as many as 47 villages in those VDCs were earlier identified as unsafe, they are yet to be shifted elsewhere.”
Further, according to Ghale, 1,600 families from risky settlements have fled their villages and are living in tents in places near the district headquarters after cracks appeared on the ground in the aftermath of the quake.
Earlier, a recommendation committee comprising lawmakers had reckoned that the villagers there were under risk and so recommended that the families be shifted to safer places.
Meanwhile, in view of the least possibility of the government providing the grant amount to quake victims to build their houses before monsoon, Nepali Congress district leader Bhakta Lama suggested that the government build community shelters for victims for this year.
“In view of how the fast the clock is ticking, it’s obvious that quake victims won’t be able to build their houses before the rainy season. So it’s better to make community shelters in view of the fast approaching monsoon,” he said.
On his part, Chief District Officer Bishwo Prakash Subedi presented the data of the amount distributed to quake victims in the district so far.
“So far, 4.3248 billion rupees has been spent from government coffers and other sources for rescue, relief and resettlement of victims here,” he said, adding, “The next 88.5 million rupees has been distributed in relief,” he said.
A version of this article appears in print on April 26, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.