Quake-displaced face hardship as winter progresses

- PRAGATI SHAHI, DHUNCHE (RASUWA)

Dec 15, 2015-

On a cold December morning, Chucchi Tamang sat beside a fire in front of her temporary shelter built on a slope near Dhunche, the district headquarters of Rasuwa. 

Chucchi, her husband and their five children moved to Dhunche after their home in Yarsha village was destroyed in the April  25 earthquake. The start of winter has left Chucchi worried for her children. 

“Life under the tin sheets is terrible during winter, especially when you have young children,” said  Chucchi. “The nights are getting harder. Cold air blows from the rusty sheets of corrugated tin and, without enough clothing to keep us warm, we are having sleepless nights.”  

The Tamangs are among the 80 families living at Dhunche in temporary huts. 

Chucchi felt a sense of respite last week when the Nepal Red Cross Society distributed Rs 10,000 each as winter relief to earthquake-affected families from Yarsa and other villages in Rasuwa. “We will buy some warm clothes for our children with the money, but what we need is a proper shelter to keep ourselves warm from colder days ahead,” Chucchi said. 

Her fear for harsher winter is not unfounded, for the weather forecast suggests that the temperature could go below freezing points in Dhunche in the coming days. 

Even eight months after the earthquake, hundreds of families from the earthquake-affected districts are still compelled to live in temporary shelters as the government has failed to come up with the programmes to rehabilitate them. As the winter is progressing, there has been growing concerns from different quarters over the poor living conditions of the quake-displaced families. 

Considering the cold-related risks on vulnerable population living in temporary shelters, the government and some development partners have initiated winter-related relief recently. On Sunday, 110 households from Yarsha VDC-2 were provided cash vouchers worth RS 12,000 to buy winter clothing, including blankets, warm beddings and jackets.  The support was part of the programme funded by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department and Act Alliance.

According to Lalit Thapa, cash support officer for Dan Church Aid, one of the members of the Act Alliance, 

over 800 households in three districts have been provided with cash vouchers to buy warm clothes as per the need of the family. 

The government has also proposed an additional budget of Rs 600 million to support winter-relief activities in 21 earthquake-affected districts. 

According to Rameshwor Dangal, chief at the Disaster Management Division, the government will provide Rs 10,000 each to the quake-affected households as winter relief to buy warm clothes. The winter relief programmes aims to reach 600,000 households “We have already directed the concerned districts to start the distribution,” he said. 

Likewise, the government has directed Ministry of Urban Development to construct 50 collective accommodations to shelter the displaced families in 14 districts. 

Published: 15-12-2015 09:06

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