Quake victims forced to live in landslide-prone areas

Published On: July 9, 2017 01:15 AM NPT By: Narahari Sapkota

GORKHA, JULY 8: Though more than two years have shot by since the devastating earthquake of April 2015, locals living in high-risk zones are yet to be relocated. As of now, not a single household living in the high-risk zones has been relocated to safer settlements. 

Soon after the earthquake, the District Natural Disaster Rescue Committee (DNDRC) of Gorkha had identified 2,214 households of 22 villages as living in high-risk zones and suggested to relocate them to safer areas without further delay. 

But so far, no household has been relocated despite the fact that DNDRC had submitted an application to relocate 11 VDCs from constituency no. 2 and 3 after conducting research on the overall situation, damages and the geographical makeup of the affected areas. 

Suk Bahadur Gurung, a local of of Kerauja, which is considered the most sensitive village and still buried under landslides, expressed his dissatisfaction over the government's delay in relocating quake victims to safe areas. "How are we supposed to live here when we see and hear rocks falling down the hills and landslides occurring?" 

Other Gorkha villages such as Barpak, Lapu, Sirdibas, Ghyachhok and Simjung face a similar problem. The local lawmakers living here, the technical team which has come here to study the disaster-prone settlement and even some locals have started leaving after finding it difficult to live here. "We are putting our lives at risk. As it has been raining every day these days, landslides have kept occurring which has hampered the infrastructures as well as our daily lives", said a local, Sane Gurung.

It has been two years since Kerauja Village Development Committee (VDC) informed both the home ministry and DNDRC about their decision to relocate the settlement before the monsoon season. Jitendra Basnet, Chief District Officer (CDO) and chief of DNDRC, said that there has been no progress in relocating the disaster-prone settlements. He also added that the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) had sent a technical team to study the area as well. Besides the NRA, there have been other government as well as non-government organizations which have been in these areas to observe the disaster prone settlement. The locals are frustrated as there has been no progress in the relocation of their settlements.

According to the Urban Development and Building Construction Office, nearly 200 households are to be relocated immediately in Kerauja and Siribash. Although the local people have received the first installment of the relief amount provided by the government, that's not enough to build houses. The slow response and unclear planning from the government has forced the locals to build temporary shelters in the landslide-prone areas.

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