For quake-hit, situation taking a turn for worse

  • left out in the cold
- Post Report, Kavre/ Gorkha/ Manthali

Dec 25, 2015-

With temperatures plummeting by the day, situation is taking a turn for worse for earthquake survivors in different districts, who are living in temporary shelters that hardly offer any protection against bone-chilling winds.Number of people suffering from cold-related diseases has sharply risen in most of the districts.

Those living in flimsy structures for the past eight months say they survived the massive earthquake but the cold is now taking a massive toll on them.

In Kavre, number of people visiting hospitals with complaints of cold-related ailments has sharply gone up.

Dr Rajendra Koju, Director, Dhulikhel Hospital, said the health facility was unable to admit new patients. “Majority of the patients are quake victims,” said Dr Koju.

Nita Adhikari of Dapcha Kashikhanda-14, who had reached Dhulikhel Hospital for treatment, was suggested that she go to any other hospital as she needed to be admitted. Suchitra Shrestha, in-charge of medical ward, said around 100 people are visiting the hospital on a daily basis of late.Poor living conditions and lack of proper food are making quake survivors sick, said health workers. Out of 41 patients at Shir Memorial Hospital in Banepa, 30 have cold-related complaints.

Narayan KC, an information officer at the District Public Health Office, said health facilities in the district are scrambling to treat patients--most of them quake victims living in temporary shelters. To make matters worse, health facilities are facing crisis of essential drugs.The government has allocated Rs 500 million as winter relief for quake survivors in the district.In Gorkha, most of the quake victims of Barpak, Laprak, Gumda, Saurpani, Gyachhok, Kerauja, Swara and Uhiya VDCs have caught cold and have complaints of sore throat, swelling, fever, headache and diarrhoea among other ailments.

 Mahendra Dhoj Adhikari, Chief at District Public Health Office, said number of people suffering from cold-related ailments is likely to go up in coming days, as temperatures will dip further.In Ramechhap, quake survivors who have fallen ill due to near freezing temperatures are at their wits’ end, as health posts in the rural areas were destroyed by the earthquake.

Ramashish Yadav, Chief of Gupteshowr Health Post in the district, said health workers were treating patients from poorly built huts. “Situation is too bad here; we are worried we will freeze to death,” he said. Health workers said they neither have proper places to treat patients nor have godowns to store drugs. Health workers themselves have started to fall ill, said Yadav. “Lives of many people are at risk,” said Jay Prakash Ray, Chief of Saipu Health Post, which was also destroyed in the earthquake.

The April 25 quake had damaged as many as 25 health facilities, including the District Hospital, in Ramechhap district. The District Hospital too is treating patients from tents.Lack of warm clothes, proper bedding and food and failure to access health care could put lives of thousands of people, who lost their homes in the earthquake, at risk.

After eight months of political bickering, the National Reconstruction Authority Bill was endorsed last week. It was authenticated by the President on December 20, paving the way for the formation of the National Reconstruction Authority. However, the NRA, which will carry out and oversee reconstruction by mobilising over $4.1 billion fund pledged by the international community, is yet to be formed, living thousands of quake survivors out in the cold.



Published: 25-12-2015 09:05

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