SURKHET, March 11: The ravaging flood of August 14, 2014 in the Bheri River killed 29 persons and rendered 120 households of Tatapani homeless. A large number of the displaced families started living in the nearby Galfa forest.
Since the devastating flood, Pushpa Nepali and her family members are living a miserable life in a small makeshift tent which hardly has space for four people. Earlier, she and her husband shouldered the responsibility of the family. Despite hardships, they were at least able to manage two square meals a day for their children.
Unfortunately, her husband Man Nepali died in April 2016 while digging a sewer. In the absence of her husband, 30 years old Pushpa had to struggle to raise her seven children. These days she is found crushing stones on the bank of the Bheri River. She has somehow been able to light her stove with the little money earned from this job.
On Thursday, Naresh Bhandari, Minister for Internal Affairs and Law of Karnali Province, paid a surprise visit to her tent. "I was cooking my meal when the leader of the camp of the flood-displaced came and told me to cook meal for two more persons," said Pushpa, adding, "I realized that he was a minister only when I was serving the meal."
Minister Bhandari along with his team spent their night in her tent that day while she and her children took shelter at their neighbors. Speaking with the reporters the next day, Minister Bhandari said, "The dark blue sky and stars were clearly visible from inside the tent. I don't think it protects them from rain and extreme heat."
According to him, this visit has made him concerned about the flood victims. As a result, he has assured the displaced flood victims that he will make necessary efforts to solve their problems. The tents and clothes provided by the political parties and organizations four years ago have worn out and the victims have hardly any clothes for wearing," said Minister Bhandari.
In Surkhet, altogether 24 persons lost their lives in flood and landslides. As many as 91 people were missing but the government declared all of them dead. Still, more than 1,000 flood and landslide victims are struggling in makeshift tents.
The visit by a provincial minister has offered some hope to Pushpa and many other victims. "It's the first time a minister has paid a visit to our tent. I hope he will do something to end our sorrow," said Pushpa.
Minister Bhandari has launched a program called 'Janata sanga ek raat' program which means a night with the citizens. As per this program, Bhandari will spend a night a month in the houses of the locals. According to him, this program has been launched to understand and solve the problems and miseries of the locals of his province. "Around 52% people of this province are living below the poverty line. So, it's time to identify their problems and find the possible solutions," said Bhandari.
Caption: Minister for Internal affairs and Law of Karnali Province, Naresh Bhandari having his meal in the house of flood victim Pushpa Nepali.