Rasuwa earthquake survivors facing series of disaster risk

Published On: December 22, 2017 04:40 PM NPT

RASUWA, Dec 22: Victims of the April, 2015 earthquake in Rasuwa district are exposed to a series of disaster risk. 

Post-quake, settlements at Mailung, Dandagaun, Thulagaun, Laharepauwa and Hakul faced a dry-landslide displacing them. Taken shelter in various places following the displacement (in Satbise of Nuwakot, and Naubise of Rasuwa), they make their latest stop at Khalte on the banks of Trishuli river prone to flooding. Some of them have already set up huts while others are in the process. 

“We in search of a safe shelter stop here in the end. Until 2020 B.S. the river run through the area where we are living now. After the river got swollen killing five people then, the river took another course. It may divert its course again and flood us,” said a displaced landslide victim Nima Lama, 65. 

A team of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has also demarcated Khalte as a risk zone for living. “NRA had built a building for the quake survivors in the area, which is later used for a rural municipality office, determining a flooding risk there,” said Khalte rural municipality chairman Upendra Lamsal. 

Although there is no recorded data on the number of quake victims taking shelter in the area, Lamsal puts it to be around 664 families. 

"Twenty-four households at risk settlements have been rehabilitated at Tistang rural municipality-5 and preparations have been made to settle 48 families at a safer place in Rasuwa district itself by providing them with Rs 200 thousand for purchasing land plots for construction of houses. There is also the programme for infrastructure development at settlements where the people from the at-risk places are living providing Rs 400 thousand per family," he said. 

As per the NRA work guidelines, the affected people from the at-risk settlements are to be given Rs 200 thousand to buy land plot for house construction at other safer place. However, the problem is exacerbated as not all the affected people have been settled elsewhere even when 32 months have passed since the devastating earthquake. 

Former secretary at the NRA, Sarbajeet Prasad Mahato said that he has suggested not settle the earthquake affected people at Khalte Basti of Rasuwa as he found in course of conducting an on-site inspection that there was risk of flood there. 

"There is need to evacuate the people from such place even if they settled voluntarily. But the government bodies have themselves settled the people at a risky place. The manner the earthquake occurred all of a sudden, there is the risk of the flood also occurring in the same manner as it is proved from geological studies that the river returns to its old course in between 50 to 100 years gap," Mahato, who is also a geologist, said. He has served as the Director General at the Department of Mines and Geology. 

The affected people of this area who are also at risk of the dry landslide have not even taken the first instalment of the government housing grant. Thulimaya Tamang, who came to this settlement, does not even know that the affected people living in the at-risk places get Rs 200 thousand as government grant. 

"The engineers assigned for the reconstruction, representatives of the rural municipality and others, none has informed about the government grant to us. Had I known about this, I would have purchased land at another place and settled there," she shared. 

Most of the earthquake affected people who have settled at this place are facing problem in their livelihood also as the dry landslide that occurred after the earthquake has covered their houses, housing plots and agricultural land. The five-member family of Jeevan Tamang who moved out from Mailung due to the risk of the landslide is struggling to make ends meet. 

"I am the only bread-winner in my family. I occasionally get to work as a daily-wager to provide for the five members of my family. It is very hard for us as the other members in my family are unemployed. We would grow enough food to last for a year back in our village. But we are living the life of refugees here," he said. 

It is becoming challenging to settle the people who have come here to become safe from the risk of floods at another safe place. However, the NRA has stated that many people here do not want to move out from this place as it is close to the main road that connects Betrawati to Dhunche. 


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