Survivors struggle to recover after tornado

Published On: April 12, 2019 06:30 PM NPT

Bara, April 12: “All our happiness has been shattered just like our house blown away by the storm,” moaned Rabindra Ram of Bhalwaliya, Bara district.

Ram and his family were celebrating the arrival of their new family member, their daughter, in the morning on that fateful day. But the happiness was short-lived and soon turned into tragedy as the massive disaster caused by a tornado hit the village and some other parts of Bara and Parsa district killing 29 people and injuring hundreds of others. Ram’s wife, Aasha Devi, gave birth to their third girl child on that fateful day. “We welcomed the girl baby in the morning. But all our happiness turned into a disaster in the evening following the storm,” he said.

Ram has got his house, all grains and property he had destroyed in the massive storm leaving him and his family homeless. “We were able to save ourselves from this disaster. But I am gripped by worries about the future of my children and wife as we have lost all we had in the disaster,” said Ram. To commemorate the fateful day, they gave their newborn a name, Aani, which translates as a hurricane in Maithili. Similar is the story of another storm victim Kabita Ram, who also lost all she had in the calamity. “My house was blown away by the storm. I and my nine-day-old daughter saved ourselves by slipping under the cot. I had lost my hope but fortunately we all are saved,” she said.

Like Kabita and Aasha, 10 postnatal mothers in the village are left in the lurch following the disaster, said Birendra Shah, coordinator of the local relief management committee. Relief materials for new mothers and babies A team from Pokhara reached Bhalwaliya with relief materials for new mothers and babies.

The Rainbow Children Home Nepal working for the welfare of children from indigent and helpless communities reached the doorstep of affected and distributed a mattress, pillow, bed sheet, nutritional supplements and sanitary items to each family, said organisation’s director Goma Dhakal. 10 news mothers and their children were identified for the relief distribution.

Narayan sub-regional hospital, Birgunj gynaecologist Dr Laxmi Thapa said new mothers and babies are at risk from several health issues in the aftermath of the disaster, stressing the need of guarantee of hygienic food and special attention to proper sanitation to keep them safe. Though the survivors have hardly managed raw foodstuffs through charity, they are not in the position of addressing hunger fully. They have makeshift tents provided by the Nepalese Army for shelter, but inside tents, they cannot make a fire to cook food and rain prohibits them from cooking in open. “Tent is not safe to use firewood fuel, we do not have cooking gas stoves and adverse weather makes cooking in open not possible,” they said univocally.

Power supply disrupted since the freak storm was restored Thursday. The storm completely damaged wheat crops, blowing away cowshed structures. The survivors face challenges in rearing livestock, complained a local Shivaji Gupta. The violent thunderbolt had killed four people along in Bhalwaliya, leaving scores injured who are undergoing treatment at several health facilities. Earlier, student leaders close to the Nepal Communist Party reached the disaster-hit areas and helped in clearing the rubbles of collapsed structures and managing food for students appearing the SEE exams at the time.

They also built 22 temporary toilets for the survivors, said All Nepal Free Students Union central vice-president Rashmi Acharya. The poor have been affected the most by the storm. A total of 340 houses, out of 400, in the villages have been completely torn away. The survivors are in the desperate need of reliable sources of livelihood. RSS

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