Worst quake hit Sindhu in shambles

  • 3,423 people have lost their lives in the district while an estimated 63,000 out of 68,000 houses have been destroyed
- Rishiram Paudel, Chautara
Worst quake hit Sindhu in shambles

May 18, 2015-

The death toll from the April 25 devastating earthquake followed by several aftershocks, including a powerful one on May 12, has reached 8,604 nationwide as of Monday morning. The highest number of causalities have been reported in Sindhupalchok with 3,423  deaths. On top of that, the district is hit hard in term of destruction of civilian infrastructure as well.

Meanwhile, altogether 978 people have sustained injuries while an estimated 63,000 out of 68,000 houses in the district were destroyed after the quake.

Due to serious threat of landslips, the settlements in the northern part of the district are also going to be evacuated.

Majority of the civilian infrastructures in Sindhupalchok district have also been demolished. The government offices, too, have been unable to entertain service seekers for the time being. Agriculture Service Centre, District Forest Office, Animal Health including all other government offices located out of the district headquarters have also been destroyed. District Police, health posts as well as hospitals are providing their services from tents and makeshift structures. All 557 schools and 52 health post buildings in the district have been razed to the ground in the quake.

Landslides triggered by the devastating earthquake of April 25 have also obstructed the main highway and road networks already damaged by the quake. Landslides that have struck Barabishe-Tatopani road section have severely affected trade between Nepal and China. The water pipelines of district headquarters and several rural areas have also been severely damaged.

All of the cultural and religious monasteries around the district have also collapsed after the quake. Similarly, big and small hydropower projects such as Bhotekoshi, Sunkoshi, Purano Chaku, Bhairabkunda, Baramchi, Handikhola, among others, have ceased operation for the time being whereas Helambu, Tatopani, Melamchi, Chautara including other tourist areas are greatly affected by the quake. The very busy Khadichaur bazaar wears a deserted look. The local bodies, on the other hand, express their inability to provide their services and other facilities due to demolished infrastructures.

Meanwhile, District Administration Office (DAO) has restricted people from walking in the street of Chautara bazaar, the district headquarters of Sindhupalchok, that has been devastated by the April 25 Great Earthquake and subsequent aftershocks. Majority of houses here have either been reduced to rubble or badly damaged by the quake. Due to this, the DAO has restricted people from venturing nearby infrastructures that have developed cracks so as to minimise further casualties.

People here don’t have the courage to dig out their belongings from the debris of what used be their houses. Local Man Bahadur Shrestha asked the authorities for help to safely demolish his neighbour’s quake damaged house which is dangerously tilting towards his own house. He is not the only person to face such a problem. One Tilak Sapkota said that houses that collapsed during the earthquake also destroyed his house while going down.

The powerful aftershock on May 12 has even destroyed many concrete houses that were deemed relatively safe than majority of mud and brick houses in the district.

Red Cross Society based in the district as well as tankers belonging to Chautara Municipality are providing drinking water in the quake-hit areas.

Chief of District Development Office (DDO), Yubaraj Kattel, said the threat from aftershocks and resulting problems can be minimised only with the help of  machines. “Only big cranes can remove the demolished infrastructures”, Kattel said.

Likewise, people of the bazaar area are demanding additional security for their belongings and early removal of the demolished infrastructures.

Officials of the District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC) demanded Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, who was there to take stock of the situation and talk to the earthquake victims, to provide cranes to clear debris of collapsed buildings at the earliest. Similarly, Chief District Officer Krishna Prasad Gyawali said they cannot minimise the threat level without the well-equipped human resource and cranes.

“All the houses here have developed cracks after the quake, so we cannot use bull dozers”, said Gyawali, adding that they also have problem in running government offices and providing services to the people.

Even the suspension bridges in the district have collapsed due to the great quake while subsequent landslides triggered by it have damaged famous foot trails.

In another report, around 116 prisoners fled the District Prison after the walls of the prison house collapsed during the quake.

Jailer Om Subedi said they know the whereabouts of only 11 prisoners as they are now in contact.

Terrorised by the Great Earthquake and subsequent aftershocks, some 66,000 families are currently staying outside their house.  They are residing under tarpaulins, in tents as well as other makeshift structures. Thousands of people from northern areas in the district have also been displaced after their houses were destroyed by the landslides triggered by the quake.

Published: 19-05-2015 07:54

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