Winter onslaught hits quake-displaced

- Anup Ojha, BHAKTAPUR

Jan 7, 2016-

Most of the people living in temporary shelters in Bhaktapur district these days are the ones whose houses were reduced to rubble in the earthquake.

Many earthquake victims, who were living in temporary shelters, have returned to their quake-damaged houses to protect themselves from cold. 

Bhaktapur District Administration Office claims around 50 percent of the quake victims have left their tents since onset of winter. A total of 3,065 people were living in temporary shelters at Dudpati, near Bhaja Pokhari area, Chyamasi, Byashi, Sano Byasi, Bhalukhel and Liwali. The Maheshwari playground, that used to host some 800 earthquake survivors, is empty these days. 

Many earthquake-displaced are now living inside their heavily-damaged houses, 

risking their lives. Some of them have started rebuilding mud huts, using remnants of their collapsed houses and others have moved to rented rooms. 

“The remaining few people here are the ones who have nowhere to go, or cannot afford to rent rooms,” said Superintendent of Police Kiran Bajracharya. 

Birman Malakar, 37, who left the tent three weeks ago from the Maheshwari playground, said he and his family reckoned it was better living in their damaged house than under a tent.

“We could not bear the cold. It is warm here but certainly not safe,” Malakar said.

Laxmi Wayaju, 32, has been staying in the tent in Byasi with her six-member family, including her 80 year-old -mother in law. 

“We are suffering from common cold, fever and my in-law’s health is worrisome, her body is swollen. We survived the quake, but I don’t’ know if we will survive this cold,” Laxmi said. 

She said their house at Bamsagopal, though  damaged by the earthquake, is still standing upright. 

“The only thing that kept us from returning was the children. They are terrified to go live in the old house now,” she said.

The family cannot afford to rent a room. Wayaju’s  husband earns around Rs 9,000 per month driving a school van. The entire family  relies on his salary.

Elderly persons, pregnant women, new mothers and children are still living in 

temporary shelters. Cold weather is affecting their health.

Published: 07-01-2016 08:52

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