Quake survivors urge govt to rope in development partners


Apr 28, 2016-

Women earthquake survivors have urged the government to bring in development partners on board the reconstruction work.

Sirimaya Tamang, a single mother of two, has been living in a temporary shelter for the last six months.

The April 25 earthquake of last year destroyed her house at Mahalaxmi Municipality in Lalitpur, killing her husband.

What little she earns working menial jobs is spent on the food and education of her two daughters, ages nine and fifteen. Tamang says she will not be able to rebuild her house without the support from the government.

“Without a home, I am constantly worried about the safety of my two young girls. I’ve already waited a year for the government relief. So far, not a single government agency has come to help me,” she said. 

“The government should allow international donors and development partners to help the earthquake victims.”

The Gorkha Earthquake destroyed or damaged more than 800,000 houses across the country, rendering around 500,000 families homeless. The snail-paced reconstruction work has left many marginalised and poor people like Tamang with no option but to wait for the aid.

An estimated US$6.7 billion is needed for a successful post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction. 

A recent report by Save the Children stated that “many of the most marginalised and vulnerable communities missed out on aid like cash distributions during the critical emergency response phase of the relief effort”.

Similarly, a report publicised last year by Inter-party Women Alliance had revealed gender discrimination in relief process and warned of same result during 

reconstruction unless reconstruction becomes gender friendly.

Sarita Shrestha, another quake survivor from Lalitpur, is also unsure if she will be able to rebuild her house. The 55-year-old lost her son and daughter in the disaster. Her only companion is her disabled husband.

The couple has been living in a single room that was built with the support of her deceased son’s office and the cash for shelter programme run by Dan Church Aid.

“Even if the government does provide financial support, it will not be enough to build a proper house. We need more support,” said Shrestha.

According to Nirmala Dhungana, president of Women for Human Rights, Single Women Group, many women, after losing their spouses in the earthquake, have suddenly found themselves in a situation where they now have to rebuild their homes.

“These women, however, are at risk of being left out in the reconstruction and relief programmes. Many women are facing legal and technical difficulties while acquiring identity cards of earthquake victims,” Dhungana said, appealing the government to make reconstruction and relief programmes accessible to women.

Published: 28-04-2016 07:50

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