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One year on, quake survivors still pining for rehabilitation

Rescue workers remove debris as they search for victims of earthquake in Bhaktapur near Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, April 26, 2015. A strong magnitude earthquake shook Nepal's capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday, causing extensive damage with toppled walls and collapsed buildings, officials said. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

Sindhupalchok, April 20, 2016: One year into the devastating earthquake that killed more than 9,000 and damaged hundreds of thousands of houses and structures, many quake survivors at Barhabise in Sindhupalchok are still taking shelter in tents without rehabilitation.

The government’s announcement to provide succor in relief to the quake victims is yet to materialise, thus leaving the victims high and dry without proper shelters to live in and food to consume.

Although the government says that the National Reconstruction Authority has already started post-quake reconstruction, the quake survivors are still crying for proper rehabilitation.

Amrit Lal Shrestha, a quake survivor, is still traumatized by the shock of the quake. “I spend days easily. But, I have difficulty with sleep. I fear another earthquake will jolt again,” says the 90-year-old of Barhabise.

He adds that he and his family are forced to live in a tent nearby without a proper house to live in.

Shrestha further says that he has not received any relief from the government and other sector except for Rs 15,000 as first initial relief provided by the government, adding that he even does not know who to turn to for relief and rehabilitation.

Another quake victim Narayan Siwakoti of Barhabise bazaar also shares a similar story. Siwakoti’s agony about the deteriorating mental condition of his wife due to the quake has coupled with his woes about their proper rehabilitation.

He says that he is forced to live in quake-damaged house marked not safe to live in as neither can he build a new house on his own due to his financial constraints nor anyone comes in to help him out with rehabilitation so far.

Siwakoti adds that his tailoring business, his only income source to make a living, is also affected due to various reasons.

Another unfortunate thing is that he also has not got the earthquake survivor identity card as yet.

Moreover, the wounds that Buddhi Maya Tamang received to her hands and feet when her house collapsed during the time of the temblor have still not healed. Her family too spends night in the temporary shed as their house was destroyed by the quake.

“The earthquake on April 25 last year that occurred in the daytime killed so many people. Imagine what will happen when it occurs at night. We do not have the courage to build strong house for fear of another big quake. That’s why we are sleeping in shed,” she says.

The family of Bishnu Maya Tamang that ekes out a living working at the landlord’s house also has not been able to come out of the fear of an earthquake.

She is the sole breadwinner for the family now after her husband was injured to the extent of immobility when their house collapsed during the devastating earthquake. “It was difficult to survive before even when the two of us (she and her husband) used to work. Now, he cannot work. It is only I who works. It is so difficult,” she adds.

Chief District Officer (CDO) of Sindhupalchok district Gokarna Mani Duwadi says the earthquake claimed the life of 3,570 people in the district alone less than a year after a huge landslide at Jure in the district in 2014 swept away settlements killing more than 150 people.

He further says Sindhupalchok district is highly prone to natural disasters and urged the government to pay attention to disaster preparedness and prevention to save lives.

Source: RSS