Quake victims languishing in the cold

Lapa, December 21

With the government failing to act to resolve the problems of the victims of last year’s earthquake in time, they are in for yet another winter in their rickety temporary shelters comprising flimsy tents in the remote north of Dhading district.

According to Che Ghale of Tipling, the winter cold is taking its toll on the kids and the elderly. “As there is too much cold, living in temporary shelters has becomr a nightmare, especially during the night when we can barely close our eyes due to the chilling cold,” he said, lamenting that the kids and the elderly were falling ill.

“Long after the quake displaced us, many have yet to get any grant as pledged by the government, while even the ones who got the first installment (of the grant) belatedly can’t build houses,” said Deshman Tamang of Newer in Lapa VDC. “I’ve got the first installment but I am bound to wait for the engineer to get the house design sanctioned,” he added.

While Selkurani Tamang of Tipling dreads the cold, Chandri Tamang of Jharlang, Nencho has similar concerns. “Last year we somehow roughed out through the winter in the camp among other victims; we don’t know how we’ll make it this year,” said Chandri, who also censured the government for failing to make good on its word to resettle earthquake victims before winter this year.

According to sources, majority of quake victims of Ri, Jharlang, Tipling, Lapa and Sertung haven’t yet started constructing their houses even after receiving the state-pledged grant about a month ago.

“Though some have started construction, it seems they can’t finish it before this winter, others haven’t been lucky enough to start as they have to wait for the engineer,” Rikka Tamang of Newer said.

Though the government has claimed it has assigned engineers to villages for construction of houses for earthquake victims, the engineers have failed to reach the hinterlands not connected by road network.