Nepal | May 27, 2020

Quake survivors exposed to health risks

Lekhanath Pandey
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earthquake survivors face shortage of drinking water at Salyantar-1, Dhading

An earthquake survivor carries a vessel of drinking water towards his temporary shelter based in Salyantar-1, Dhading on Sunday, March 6, 2016. At least 43 families of Kapurgaun of Lapa have been taking shelter at open pasture of Pauwa, Salyantar- 1 after their home village was ravaged by the April 25 earthquake. Photo: Lekhanath Pandey/THT

Dhading, March 11

People displaced by the earthquakes in Dhading district are exposed to severe health risks as they share congested shelters without sufficient access to food, healthcare, or adequate water supply and sanitation facilities.

According to District Administration Office, at least 774 families of northern Dhading, mostly from Ree, Lapa, Tipling, Jharlang and Shertung VDCs were displaced after the April 25 earthquake.

They have since been taking shelters in makeshift tents in different areas of Salyantar, Sankosh, Nilkantha and Dhola VDCs.

Local authorities have warned of an epidemic outbreak at camps during the coming summer.

District Health Officer Jivan Kumar Malla told The Himalayan Times that cases of flu, viral fever and typhoid had shot up in the temporary camps as displaced quake-survivors are without sufficient access to health care facilities.

At least two dozen children from a single camp in Sankosh were treated for flu and viral infection in February. Malla warned of an outbreak of typhoid and other diseases during upcoming monsoon as quake survivors have been defecating in the open due to absence of adequate toilets.

He said many children below the age of five years were found suffering from malnutrition.

The District Health Office, in coordination with some non-governmental organisations, has set up clinics and provided mobile health services targeting the quake survivors. But this has not been effective.

As their stay in temporary camps have been extended, the quake survivors have started rearing hens and pigs, which has further polluted their locality, said Ekaraj Chhatakuli, executive director of Focus Nepal, Dhading.

“Neither have we been told where we would be relocated in future, nor has the government built facilities such as toilets and taps in the camps,” said Ram Kumar Tamang, a displaced quake survivor in Lapa-1, Kapurgaun.

He is now living in a temporary camp in Salyantar VDC along with 43 families displaced from Kapurgaun, which is one of the many areas declared ‘uninhabitable’ by the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology after the earthquake.

Chief District Officer of Dhading Bashu Ghimire told this daily that the government has not installed new facilities targeting the quake displaced people as they are supposed to return to their original villages.

He, however, urged the quake survivors to keep their localities neat and clean and avoid activities such as rearing hens and pigs.

A version of this article appears in print on March 12, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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