Quake-hit new mothers battling winter blues in temporary sheds

BANEPA: The new mothers at Banepa in Kavrepalanchwok district, rendered homeless after the April 25 earthquake damaged their houses, have begun taking shelter in traditional makeshift sheds to battle winter blues.

As the temperature continues to dip, the expecting mothers and new ones, who had been sheltering in tarpaulin sheets following the quake, find it awfully cold to spend the night under the sky.

In an attempt for vulnerable women and their newborns to keep safe from cold, locals here have begun making makeshift shed with locally-available materials such as tree trunks, leaves, grass, straw and hay.

Kamala Gautam, a local from Pokharichaur VDC-6 in the district, gave birth to a baby at the end of November. Following the birth of her baby, she shifted to a traditional shed to safeguard both the new born and herself from cold and the infections threats.

"We (baby and I) spend the day under the tarpaulin sheets and sleep in the shed at night," shared Gautam.

Despite observing precautions, her newborn caught cold and is now under medication.

Stating that the winter has hit the newborns and new mothers like her the hardest, the anxiety-ridden mother bemoaned that although there were relief distributions for the quake-displaced people, it did not make quite the impact on their lives.

As many as 55 households in Pokharichaur Ward No 6 and 7 whose houses were rendered uninhabitable by the devastating quake are sheltering in Chautarodanda.

Uddav Gautam, Chairperson of the Committee for the Management of Shelters for the Earthquake-hit Persons in Pokharichaur, confided that the tarpaulin sheets and tents provided by the government as relief materials to the quake-hit persons have not been handy for winter.

According to him, the children and elderly detest sleeping under tents dreading cold eventhough they have to pay Rs 100 per month as a rent for residing in the temporary shelter made available by the committee, informed Gautam.

Children and the elderly are vulnerable section and are prone to developing diseases like pneumonia and asthma due to the biting winter cold.

He said that many elderly lacking adequate quilt, blanket and bedding prefer to light bonfire and sleep by its side at night.

"The quake-displaced people here, especially the new mothers, children and elderly are in want of blankets, quilts and beddings to keep winter woes at bay," added Gautam.