Quake victims still languishing in temporary shelters

Published On: July 7, 2016 01:40 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

NRA yet to devise plan of relocating them
KATHMANDU, July 7: After last year's devastating earthquake destroyed his house, Krishna Bahadur Khadka, 77, of Okhaldhunga came to Kathmandu with his family members and started living in a flimsy tent at Chuchepati, Chabahil along with other earthquake victims.  

Khadka was confident that his stay in the temporary shelter would not last long as he believed that the government would do something to provide relief to quake victims like him soon.

“But over 15 months have passed since the disaster and we are still languishing in the temporary shelter suffering lots of hardships. But the government still does not seem to care at all,” said Khadka, who is a heart patient.

He has been living in a congested temporary hut with his 65-year-old wife, his son and daughter-in-law, and two school-going grandsons after his house, the only property in his name, collapsed due to the magnitude 7.8 quake.

The Khadka family's living condition gets more difficult when it rains. The rain water enters inside their tent making it difficult to cook and sleeping almost impossible.

“Due to the incessant rainfall in the last few days, we hardly could manage to sleep as the rainwater entered from everywhere. My doctors have said I need more sleep,” he said.  

His wife Maya Devi said that her husband's health condition has deteriorated by living in the temporary shelter. “My two grandsons also frequently suffer from fever and diarrhea. But the government does not seem to care about us,” she said.

Shanti Pariyar, 42, another quake victim, also said that she has been living with her family in the temporary shelter since the earthquake.

“Every day, I wake up thinking that the government will soon come to us and relieve us from the difficult conditions. And now 15 months have passed and nothing has happened,” she bemoaned.

Like Khadka, she also came to Kathmandu after her only house in Dolakha district was completely damaged by the earthquake.

She said that the quake victims living in temporary huts in Chuchepati face problems of drinking water and sanitation.

“When I heard that the government has initiated the grant distribution process, I went back to my district. But the local authorities said I now cannot receive the grant amount for reconstructing my house as I missed the survey. So, I returned back to the temporary hut,” she said.

In Chuchepati, nearby the Hyatt Hotel alone, over 300 quake victims from various districts are taking refuge in the temporary huts ever since the earthquake struck. Many other quake victims are still languishing in temporary shelters in various other places in the capital.  

But the government is yet to relocate them. In what can be seen as a height of negligence on part of the government, the National Reconstruction Authority has not even devised any plan on how to provide them grant amount and relocate them to their original places.  

“We are holding talks to construct community shelters in various places in the Valley and relocate the victims. But no concrete plan has been developed on how to relocate them,” NRA's deputy spokesperson Dr Bhishma Kumar Bhusal said. 

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