Flood victims worried about experiencing nightmare again

Published On: July 26, 2018 08:48 AM NPT By: Amar Khadka

Locals fear that they might again have to shelter in schools and temples like last year

ITAHARI, July 26: With the arrival of monsoon, Manju Magarati of Itahari ward-4, Gairigaun has started staying awake during the night. As the rain can trigger ravaging floods anytime, all she is trying to do is to ensure that none of her family members get killed during sleep.

"If I stay awake, it will be easier for me to save my children and husband in case our home gets inundated," said Manju. The ravaging flood that struck at night during last August is still fresh in her memory. She has a seven-year-old daughter and four-year-old son. As her husband gets tired by doing labor at daytime, she allows him to rest at night.

A year ago, the flood originating from the Budhi River in the border of Sunsari and Morang damaged the settlements in various wards of Itahari to a large extent. A total of nine people were killed while many houses were completely or partially submerged, displacing hundreds of locals. 

"Last year's flood keeps haunting us while we sleep," said Durga Rai of Gairigaun, adding, "Despite witnessing so much loss last year, the government didn't take any initiative to construct an embankment to mitigate the risk."

Locals fear that they might again have to shelter in schools and temples like last year.

Flood victims unable to find rented rooms
As the monsoon has started taking its toll, Nita Limbu of Itahari-3 has been wandering from place to place find a rented room for a few months to escape possible floods. However, she has not been able to find one. Her husband Krishna Yakho has gone to Khotang for labor after the government imposed ban on extraction of cement until the monsoon is over. Currently, Nita is taking care of her three-year-old daughter all by herself.

The fear of being flooded again by the swollen Budhi River has compelled her to search for a safe temporary shelter. 

"Most house owners don't provide rented rooms to flood victims and in case if they do they want to rent us the whole flat," laments Nita. According to her, poor people like her cannot afford to take flats when they struggle for two square meals.

Similarly, Pushpa Limbu of Itahari-4, Gairigaun, spent six days wandering around in search of a room. But she too was asked to book a flat instead of a single room. 

"Now, we have no option other than staying in the same house risking our lives," said Pushpa. This year, the locals fear that flood might cause more loss in comparison to last year.

Meanwhile, some of the locals living on the banks of the river have successfully managed to find rented rooms and have already shifted their belongings there, according to Dilkumari Limbu of Itahari-10. Victims have been repeatedly making one demand and that is to construct an embankment to avoid inundation. But the government has turned a deaf to their pleas. Instead, it prefers offering relief to them after damage.

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