Print Edition - 2015-06-07  |  Earthquake Relief

Chandi Dal Battalion erects shacks in Sindhuli

- RAJKUMAR KARKI, Sindhuli
Chandi Dal Battalion erects shacks in Sindhuli

Jun 6, 2015-

Laxmi Thapa of Bhuwaneshwor VDC-2, in Sindhuli, has finally got some respite from sleeping under a tarpaulin shelter: the Nepal Army personnel from Chandi Dal Battalion have built her family a bamboo shack with a tin roof. Prior to this, her family was living in a makeshift shelter that could barely keep out the rain.

Laxmi arranged for the bamboo herself while the roof, made out of corrugated sheets, was retrieved from the rubble of her now-destroyed home and has been reused in the shack. “I bought the bamboo on credit and had to reuse the old roof as I had no money to buy a new one,” she said. The old tin roof had developed holes, through which water leaked and the family would have to cover it with tarpaulin when it rained. “As we could not rebuild the old house before the monsoon, the temporary shelter has become our new home,” said Sanak Thapa, Laxmi’s husband.

The family would probably have installed a more robust roof if the help they had been promised had materialised. The locals in the area have heard that the government has pledged that it will provide Rs15,000 to help families buy galvanised corrugated sheets, but they have not received anything yet.

“We could have put up a new roof if we had got the cash on time,” said Laxmi. “What good is the money now?”

But the locals are thankful for the Army’s presence. The Nepal Army personnel, living in temporary camps in the village, have built more than a dozen temporary shelters here. “The army sets up a shack if we can gather bamboo, a tin roof and wood,” said another local Bhusan Thapa.

Bhusan Thapa’s new house boasts a colourful tin roof, atop which sits a DTH device for receiving satellite signals for their TV and solar panels. “Because I could not repair my house before the onset of the monsoon, I have installed all the necessary amenities in the temporary shelter,” he said. “If we are spared from another disaster, even festivals will be celebrated in this house.”

Before the earthquake struck, another local, Bharat Thapa, was about to shift to his new house, which had cost him Rs 400,000 to build.  An office help at the village’s Livestock Service Centre, Thapa had built his new home with money from his provident fund and loans. “I did not live in the new house for even a day, and now I live in a temporary shack that the army helped build,” he said.

The scarcity of labourers in the village means that the villagers need all the help provided by the Nepal Army. The army has also set up tarpaulin shelters at the local Kaushika Higher Secondary School. According to the principal of the school, Santosh Bohora, classes for grades 8 to 10 are being operated under these makeshift classrooms. Till date, the Nepal Army has built temporary shelters in 30 worst-hit VDCs in the district. Apart from building shacks, the army is also helping demolish unstable buildings. “We are involved in building and demolishing houses as per the request of the locals,” said the chief of the Chandi Dal Battalion, Manoj Thapa. The army is also involved in demolishing badly damaged government structures. Out of the 57,000 houses in the district, some 40,000 have sustained damages.

Published: 07-06-2015 08:12

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