Nepal | April 02, 2020

Quake victims struggling for drinking water

Lekhanath Pandey
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

Salyantar, March 7

Hundreds of displaced quake survivors who have been taking shelter in different parts of Dhading district after their villages were ravaged by the April 25 earthquake have been struggling for basic access to drinking water.

They have to spend hours collecting just a vessel of drinking water and clash occasionally with local people as water in the wells, streams and taps has depleted after the temblor.

Over 1,000 families of northern high-hill VDCs of Dhading, including Lapa, Shertung, Ree, Tipling and Jharlang had started taking shelter at low-lying areas of Salyantar, Dhola, Sankosh, and Nilkantha VDCs.

Almost all of them are indigenous Tamang community.

Though some of them returned to their villages, most of them are still residing in new areas as the landslides, cave-ins and mudslides had left their original places uninhabitable. “We want to return to our village.

We miss it a lot,” said Nira Tamang of Lapa-1, Kapurgaun. “But we can’t resume life there simply because there is no way to go there.”

Nira, along with 93 families from Lapa VDC, have been sheltering at an open area in Salyantar-1, Pauwa. Alas, their challenges are not over yet and managing water for running life is one of them.

“My two hours pass just to bring a pot of water,” said Prem Maya Tamang, who was also displaced from Lapa-1 and is taking refuge at Salyantar, an all-season water-crisis hill-plain area. “We had many wells and streams here.

Now, most of them have vanished, while some have resurfaced in low-lying places,” said Hari Panta, a local UML representative of Salyantar VDC.

Initially, local people of Salyantar, Dhola, Sankosh, and Nilkantha VDC helped them in many ways when they turned up at their places seeking shelter. They provided vegetables, food and assisted in finding water sources and erecting toilets for the displaced people.

Later, when IDPs’ stay extended at their localities, conflicts started surfacing, mainly owing to lack of adequate drinking water and other issues like sanitation and hygiene, said Ekaraj Chhatakuli, executive director of Focus Nepal, Dhading.

Recently, an altercation was observed between IDPs and locals of Damgade of Sankosh VDC, where over 200 IDP families from Shertung, Jharlang and Tipling VDCs are still taking shelter.

The locals said the displaced people defecated in open places, while IDPs claimed they did so due to absence of water and toilets.

A representative of the Local Development Committee, Dhading told The Himalayan Times that the government had not built any permanent facilities nor ensured safe drinking water facilities.


A version of this article appears in print on March 08, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.


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