National

Desertion at earthquake camp

Hundreds of families leave Gupsipakha earthquake camp and return to Laprak, their old village that has been declared unsafe for human habitation by geologists

- HARIRAM UPRETY, GORKHA

The village of Laprak in Gorkha district was destroyed beyond repair by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake of 2015.


Geologists had declared the place a high landslide risk zone and recommended the authorities to move the village to a safer location. More than 500 Laprak families where moved to an earthquake camp at Gupsipakha, just 30 minutes walk from their village, in the wake of the disaster.


At Gupsipakha, the they were expected to start afresh, build a new settlement there. But things did not go according to the plan.


A little over three years down the line, the number of families at Gupsipakha camp has declined significantly.
Despite the warning that Laprak is no more safe for living, hundreds of families have returned to their old village.


The Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) is building new homes for the earthquake-displaced families of Laprak at Gupsipakha.


But most of the families for whom these homes are being built have already returned Laprak.
“It is difficult living in Gupsipakha because it gets too cold there. The NRNA is building new homes, but they are nowhere near complete,” said Jit Gurung, who has moved back to Laprak with his family.


The Gurung family have moved into their old home after carrying out few repair works to make it liveable.
Not all families returned to Laprak to move into their old homes. Many of them had left the village with their homes flattened to the ground.


After returning, they built makeshift huts on the ground where their homes once stood.


“We had to return because our children and elderly family members were falling sick due to cold. We know about the landslide risk here, but we will be better off here than at Gupsipakha camp. That is until the new settlement has been completed,” said Ganesh Gurung, who is also the chairman of Laprak Settlement Reconstruction Committee.


He added that it would take at least another three years for the NRNA to complete the housing project at Gupsipakha.


The NRNA, however, said that around 60 percent of the work has been completed and the families living in the earthquake camp would soon get new homes. The earthquake survivors are not convinced.
Until the new settlement is completed, desertion is likely to continue at Gupsipakha camp.

 

Compelled to live in risk
RAMECHHAP: Four earthquake-affected families living in Bhuji, Ramechhap, are living in  landslide-prone area as they have no other place to go. Hari Bahadur Sarki, one of the quake survivors, said his family was compelled to live on a landslide-risk zone because the government did not offer his family the housing grant. Although the National Reconstruction Authority had announced to provide Rs 200,000 each to 150 quake-affected families to purchase land plots in the district, only  77 families have received the amount so far. (PR)

Published: 2018-08-08 08:06:06