Quake survivors battling with extreme cold

Published On: December 26, 2017 04:00 AM NPT By: Kishan Sangeet Nepali

LAMJUNG, Dec 26: There are around two dozen tin-roofed huts on the banks of Chepe River that divide Lamjung and Gorkha. These days, a large number of children and elderly people here are seen basking in sun out of the huts. In lack of warm clothes and shelter, they are found shivering in the cold.   

This settlement almost looks like a squatters' village but actually is a residence of earthquake victims. Quake victims of eastern Dudh Pokhari Rural Municipality-4, Muge village have been sheltering in nearby Dharelibesi since they were rendered homeless by the catastrophic earthquake of 2015. Since the arrival of winter, they have been living a miserable life. As many as 19 houses of Muge were completely destroyed by the earthquake. Later, those homeless villagers had to abandon their village due to fear of a huge rock falling into the village from above.

Since then, these victims have been living in makeshift huts in a rented land. "We still go to our fields in Muge but can't dare to live there," said Pratima Shrestha, one of the quake victims. The fear of being swept away by landslide does not allow the victims to get back to their village. As a result, they are obliged to suffer in the cold huts. These huts are neither suitable in summer nor in winter.

"We surely would have built our houses if we had money and land," laments Kalimaya Gurung, adding, "These days, we don't like welcoming guests to our homes due to our dilapidated huts." Management of waste and defecation is adding to their woes. They have expressed their disappointment toward the political leaders who have always neglected their problems despite making several pleas. In the name of relief, they had once received Rs 15,000 and later Rs 10,000 only. While the quake victims of other villages have already started building their houses by taking the first installment of housing grant, the victims here are in a fix as they don't have land for housing.

As the quake destroyed the original building of Champawati Primary School, the school has been running from a tent, informed Dilliram Dawadi, principal of the school. It has been really difficult for us to protect the important documents. As a result, we are obliged to carry our office in bags. This has also reduced the number of students here. As per the details collected after the earthquakes, as many as 691 houses in Ilampokhari were completely destroyed while 18 were partially damaged.


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