Locals stand near the remains of houses destroyed by the recent tornado and a tornado-victim, whose house was completely destroyed by the disaster, prepares a meal in the open, in Puranaiya village, Bara district in these recent pictures. Photo: Upendra Yadav
BARA, April 8: Ijhar Miya of Puranaiya village laments his inability to build a strong house like that of his neighbor. He says that he was destitute in the past and is still so. “I was never capable of building a strong house. As such my neighbor’s home resisted the storm, mine did not,” he said.
Miya is one of the dozens of families rendered homeless by the recent tornado in Bara and Parsa. After his house turned to rubble in seconds on 31 March, he became homeless.
“The storm destroyed weak houses. Houses that were strong and made of concrete survived the disaster,” he reiterated.
Life has never been easy for Miya. He has always struggled for survival. However, he was yet to face the worst, he realizes. “I thought life was so hard on me. But now, I see that that was still okay, it is tough now, to live like this,” he stated.
After being rendered homeless by the disaster, the victims of the tornado have been living in a makeshift house. Lack of water, food and clothes have made life troublesome.
According to Miya, most of the houses partly or entirely damaged due to the storm were made of mud and stone. Some had walls of hey or bamboo. “We had a roof of corrugated sheets, and the house was fragile. It could not face the storm,” he said.
The District Administration Office (DAO) said that the tornado mostly affected the poor who did not have concrete houses. Concrete infrastructures with proper designs have almost survived the disaster.
While 28 were confirmed dead, the disaster has left 420 injured. And the DAO states that most of the dead and the wounded belong to poor and marginalized communities.
“This way or that way, it’s us, poor ones, who are the most affected by natural disasters,” Miya notes.
Miya lost four of his family members when the house crumbled to the force of the tornado. “Had I been able to build a strong house, I would not have lost my family members and my house,” he said.
Mustak Ansari’s house is just in front of Miya’s. The storm did not affect the family. Similarly, there are many other buildings in the village which resisted the disaster.
Four years ago, Miya had built the house that is now destroyed by the tornado. It was a dream come true for Miya then. “ I had spent all my savings on building that house. It was, let’s say the saving of my entire life,” he laments.
Even after investing lifetime’s savings, Miya’s house could not keep his family members safe during the storm. “Poor people are destined to suffer,” he accepts.
He was living very happily with his family in the house. Wife Meena, daughter-in-law Husain Tara and grandchildren had made his life very beautiful. He lost them in the disaster. His son and a grandson, who were buried in the debris were later taken out. They are receiving treatment at the hospital.
“Had I been able to build a proper house, maybe my family members would not die today,” he said with teary eyes.
While building the house, some of his friends had suggested him to invest more on the foundation of the house. If the foundation of the house is made strong, it will be able to withstand disasters, they had said. “But I had limited budget. I tried to make the house as strong as possible with little money I had at the time,” he says regretfully.
Bagad Miya also suffered loss due to the disaster. His house is partly damaged, and his family members have sustained injuries. “We did not have to bear human causalities, but we realized that safe house is essential. Anything can happen when weather is extreme,” Bagad remarked.
The disaster slightly destroyed houses of Muabja Khatun, Abdul Rahaman, Aftab Miya and Sikendra Miya. They had built a sturdy house, they say. “The storm mostly destroyed the houses of the poor people. Houses of people who were able to build to stronger homes, were not much affected,” said Roksana Khatun.
After the disaster, the storm continues to be the hot topic here. According to Jakir Ansari, chairperson of the Feta Rural Municipality – ward 6, where the village is located, the disaster has fully damaged 82 houses in the village. “Houses made of quality materials with proper engineering survived the disaster, others crumbled,” he said.