Victims deprived of tents

- SUDIP KAINI, Gorkha

May 2, 2015-

Deprived of tents, victims of the devastating quake on Saturday in the district have been compelled to live under the open sky. Those that reached the district headquarters for help were also given a cold shoulder by the local administration stating that adequate tents have been sent to the villages.

The District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC) has distributed 5,000 tents and another 10,000 were handed out by private sector organisations. However, it is far from sufficient in the district where around 58,000 houses have been damaged rendering it uninhabitable. As a result, around 43,000 households have had to live under makeshift tents made out of plastic, jute and clothes.

“A total of 43 of us have been living under a single tent,” said Saraswati Basel of Phinam, adding that they have had to spend their nights wet in case of rain.

According to Sarita Rana of Simjung, two people each from 35 houses had been taking shelter under the makeshift tents.

As per the data provided by the local administration, the death toll has climbed to 410. But since everyone is homeless, locals have had a difficult time performing the final rites of the deceased. “Laprak has virtually turned into a village without humans,” said CPN-UML leader Lekh Bahadur Thapa upon returning from a field visit to the areas. “Most residents have fled to Gupsi danda in fear of another earthquake and landslide.”

In Khanigaun, Lapubesi and Liding in Lapu VDC, none of the houses are habitable. The same goes for Sirangaun, Puchargaun, Yamgaun, Lapsibot, Singla and Machhikhola in Gumda VDC. The situation is no different in Uhiya, Keraunja and Saurpani VDCs, said local Ram Chandra Dhakal. “We have not received the tents distributed in relief and are forced to live in the open as local shops have run out of tents,” Dhakal complained.

Tirtha BK of Taple said that they needed tents more than food. Furthermore, the stench emanating from dead bodies of livestock and sudden weather change has started taking its toll on the locals with a number of them suffering from common cold and cough. Admitting that they had not been able to provide enough tents to the needy, Chief District Officer Uddhav Timilsina said that they had not received adequate tents from the government, adding that the relief committee had also distributed the tents with them.

Meanwhile, following complaints of incidents of people looting vehicles with relief materials halfway, police have been mobilised for vigilance.

Published: 03-05-2015 09:07

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