MAHENDRANAGAR, August 5
Dhanmati Bohara of Belauri municipality-7 Ramnagar lost his 12-year-old son, when the entire settlement was inundated by floods in the Doda River seven years ago in Kanchanpur.
Gorakh Chand also lost his eight-year-old daughter in the disaster. However, four children who were playing with them at the time, were rescued.
Dhanmati’s family was completely displaced after a flood hit the settlement later the same year. His family, along with 58 other families of the locality have been sheltering at a camp in Rani Community Forest.
They fear to return home because of the massive land erosion in their area.
When the wind blows they are afraid their shanties will either be blown away or the branches of trees nearby will fall on their settlement. “It is very hard to protect children during monsoon,” lamented Lachchhu Rana.
Civic Awareness Centre Chairperson Rukmani Rana, who was also displaced by the flood said, “We are not in a position to settle down in our present residences due to land erosion and floods.”
The locals said many of them could not cultivate their land due to flooding.
An all-party meeting of political leaders, community forest representatives and victims decided to allow disaster victims to reside in the area in 2009, a year after the calamity. According to them more than 60 bigaha cultivable land of the victims was damaged by floods.
The victims’ names are not in the list of flood victims of the district. They have thus been deprived of various rights after Nepal Red Cross Society did not verify them as disaster victims. “Red Cross did not verify us as flood victims because they were not invited in a meeting of the flood displaced,” said Rana. “Though
Red Cross helped us by providing blankets and other necessary materials then, it didn’t verify us as flood victims, she said.
Mahesh Bam, executive officer of Belauri Municipality said that Red Cross was the only agency that verified flood victims. As the victims are residing in the camp, they do not have much problem. However, as it is a long-lasting problem, a permanent solution has to be sought, he said.
The victims complained they were facing hard time due to lack of water in the camp. They have no option but to depend on a single tap there.
A version of this article appears in print on August 06, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.