Agonising wait continues for Surkhet flood victims

- PRAKASH ADHIKARI, SURKHET
Only 464 out of 970 displaced families have received Rs50,000 to buy land, while 123 have got only Rs25,000 of the pledged Rs75,000 to build homes over the years

Jul 23, 2017-The flood-displaced families are living under temporary shelters at Girighat, Tikhakuna, Chhinchu and Birendranagar in Surkhet district for the last three years pinning hopes on government relief aid. 

Bal Bahadur Damai, one of the victims, said he hoped to build a new house before monsoon after the government decided to provide relief on par with earthquake victims. “Three years have passed. We have no other alternative other than keep waiting,” said Damai, who has been living under a temporary hut at the Women Training Centre in Surkhet. 

Tulsi Sunar, another flood displaced, also has a similar tale to tell. “This time again, we are putting up a new hut after the old one worn out. The government delay in allocating the budget for resettlement has compelled us to stay under the huts during this monsoon as well,” she said. 

Like Damai and Sunar, 930 other flood-displaced families share the same fate in the district. 

According to the District Natural Disaster Rescue Committee data, 115 people were killed and 970 families displaced by the floods that struck various villages and parts of Birendranagar Municipality in August 2014. 

While 255 houses were destroyed, the properties of 715 others were partially damaged in the disaster. 

The government had pledged Rs50,000 in relief aid to each of the displaced families to buy land and an additional Rs75,000 each to build homes. Out of the 970 displaced families, only 464 have received the aid to buy land, while 123 have got only Rs25,000 of the pledged Rs75,000 to build homes over the years.

Six months ago, the government had passed the working guideline to provide relief to the flood and landslide displaced families on par with the earthquake-affected families. It decided to provide Rs300,000 each to the families hit by floods and landslides and an additional Rs50,000 to purchase land plots in Surkhet and other flood- and landslide-affected areas. 

The Urban Development and Building Construction Division Office (UDBCDO) has already transferred Rs30 million into the victim’s accounts, according to the office’s Information Officer Jhanka Bahadur Thapa. 

“The victims will start building their houses after the end of monsoon,” he said, adding that the government had allocated Rs100 million to the UDBCDO to distribute the first instalment amount for the resettlement of the flood-displaced families. 

Published: 23-07-2017 07:10

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