No relief for victims even 6 weeks after Sarlahi flooding

Published On: August 22, 2019 06:00 AM NPT By: Tanka Chhetri

Local representatives competing to include supporters on victims' list

Relief materials meant for victims lying in Red Cross store

SARLAHI, Aug 22: Even six weeks after a massive flooding in the district, neither the government has collected any details on the losses caused nor have the victims been provided any relief.

A meeting of the Disaster Management Committee in the district on July 19 had formed 32 different committees to conduct a detailed survey of the damage caused by the floods to houses, crops and other losses in the district.

The chairman of the committee, the then chief district officer (CDO) Krishna Bahadur Raut had announced to complete the loss data collection work within two to three days and subsequently start distribution of relief materials in the affected areas.

But in a month since the formation of the committees, data has been collected from only 17 of the 20 local units.

According to new CDO Mohan Bahadur GC, they have collected loss details from various local units including Haripur, Bagmati, Malangawa, Lalbandi, Hariaun, Kabilasi, Ishwarpur, Balara, Godaita, Barahathawa, Kaudena, Chakaraghatta, Ramnagar, Chandra Nagar, Parsa and Brhmapuri areas. Details have yet to be collected from the most-affected areas including Dhanakaul, Basbariya and Haripurba.

“We will come up with the final details of the losses in the next few days,” said GC.

The Disaster Management Committee's meeting on July 19 had formed a total of 32 committees, one per local unit, headed by elected ward-chairs with representatives of Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, civil servants and Red Cross Society, among others as members.

The teams were supposed to meet all affected households and collect loss information within three days.

GC said once the details arrive, they will be forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs. “Then, a special relief package will be declared through a meeting of council of ministers and we will distribute that accordingly,” he said. “Otherwise, we will provide whatever possible from the Disaster Management Committee.”

However, sources said the data collection work was delayed due to a "dirty competition among ward chairs and local representatives to include their own supporters and cadres on the list of flood-affected people."

Nepal Red Cross Society Chair of Malangawa branch, Nagendra Chaudhary, said that they have stored relief materials sufficient for around 1,500 households. “But the Disaster Management Committee has decided to distribute relief materials through a one-door system only after the loss details are finalized,” said Chaudhary. “Therefore, we haven't distributed them too.”

Neeraj Bhandari, director of Bagmati Sewa Samaj Nepal, Hariaun, a local NGO, said that the flood victims are suffering due to the committee's delay in coming up with final loss details.

Nepal Police in a preliminary survey conducted immediately after the floods, had said two people were killed, 2,400 houses were damaged, other 5,500 households were partially-damaged and 12,084 people were displaced by the floods.

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