Bardiya flood survivors brace for joyless festival

- KAMAL PANTHI, GULARIYA

Sep 27, 2017-Dashain hardly brings joy to the lives of flood-displaced families living in temporary shelters at Rampurtappu of Gulariya-4, Bardiya, since 2014.Forty-three families here observed the last three Dashain with muted celebrations. 

This year will be no different either. They are still without proper homes, short of cash and low on food supply.  Ganga Bhandari, one of the flood survivors, said fun and festivity of Dashain left their lives the year they lost their homes to the Babai river flood. 

“That excitement and anticipation of Dashain has disappeared in three years of living in these huts,” he said. The year the Rampurtappu settlement got decimated by flood, the displaced families were offered handouts by the government and various social organisations before the festival season. They did not receive any festival largesse for the last two Dashain.    “Buying new set of clothes and organising festival feast are beyond the wherewithal of many families here,” said Khagisara Oli, another flood survivor from Rampurtappu. 

“We have long been demanding the government to provide us shelters, but nothing has come to pass so far.”  Like in Rampurtappu, there is a wistful air at the camp sites of flood displaced people in Durgawa and Bansgadhi these days. Dashain is not going to be a fun affair for 118 families in these two camp sites.Govinda Khatri, one of the camp residents, said festival season made them sad. 

“We are unable to celebrate the festivals like we used to in the past. We need proper homes, but the government has done very little to address our concern,” he said.More than 93,000 households were affected by the flood of August 14, 2014, in Bardiya. Around 3,000 homes were destroyed whileover 500 homes sustained damages. The Nepalgunj-based Urban Development and Building Construction Office (UDBCO) started distributing Rs 50,000 on piecemeal basis to the flood-displaced families to buy land plots towards the end of last fiscal year. But many aid beneficiaries have refused to receive the aid, saying the amount is inadequate to get them out of their poorly built huts.

“The aid amount announced by the government cannot buy a land anywhere in Gulariya. What we want is a resettlement aid in lump sum on par with the 2015 earthquake victims,” said Kalika Gharti, one of the flood displaced. 

Published: 27-09-2017 08:01

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