January 16, 2018 06:45 AM NPT
By: Madan Thakur
RAUTAHAT, Jan 16: With the death of two more people on Sunday, the death toll of people dying from cold has climbed to 19 in Rautahat.
On Sunday, Asharfi Baitha of Gadhimai Municipality-3, Laxmipur and Manisha Kumari Sah, the fifteen-year-old daughter of Dukha Sah of Kathariya Municipality-3 succumbed to cold. Deceased Baitha was a party member of CPN-UML. As stated by the members of his party, cold was the reason behind his death. Earlier, cold had claimed 17 lives in Rautahat. Since the last one month, the freezing cold has thrown normal life out of gear in various parts of tarai.
The plunge in temperature has especially affected the people of the poor and marginalized communities. For many, winter often brings death in their community. The biting cold has made it difficult for the people to go to their works. Bonfires have been the only medium for the poor people to escape cold. They have been struggling in cold due to lack of proper clothes, food and shelter. Some are worried that they might not survive this winter. But the government has not taken any major steps to address the plights of these people.
"Temperature is dipping day by day but we don't have proper clothes to cover our body," said Shyam Majhi Musahar of Gadhimai-3, Laxmipur. As the poor people cannot afford to buy timber, they have been lighting fire using leaves, straw and hay.
According to Basanti Raut of Gaur-1, CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal had distributed warm clothes and blankets to the cold victims last year. But this year, no organization or political parties have made efforts to help the cold victims.
Kishwor Nepal of Civil Society said that children and elderly have been worst hit by cold. Locals have urged the government to do something for protecting people from dying of cold.