STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

The Nepal quake survivors who can never go home

For two years Tamang and her family have lived in a makeshift shelter built on rented land alongside 100 families.

Published: 25th April 2017 05:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th April 2017 05:03 PM   |  A+A-

Around 2,500 families still living in temporary shelters now face permanent resettlement because authorities say the villages where they used to live are not safe. (File | AP)

By AFP

RASUWA: Nepal marked the second anniversary of a devastating quake on Tuesday with rebuilding finally under way, but thousands of survivors still living in flimsy shelters have been told they can never return home.

Experts say the 2015 quake, which killed nearly 9,000 people, has heightened the risk of natural disasters in parts of the Himalayan country already prone to landslides, particularly during the annual monsoon rains.

Around 2,500 families still living in temporary shelters now face permanent resettlement because authorities say the villages where they used to live are not safe.

Among them is Subi Maya Tamang, who lost her home and her three-year-old granddaughter when their village of Haku was swept away in a massive landslide triggered by the 7.8-magnitude quake.

For two years Tamang and her family have lived in a makeshift shelter built on rented land alongside 100 families a day's walk from their wrecked homes.

Their tin and tarpaulin shelters offer little protection from the harsh winters in this remote Himalayan district to the north of Kathmandu.

'It took everything'

The 48-year-old recalls how rocks and mud rained down on her village, killing over 50 people. 

"It took everything. There is nothing there, all swept away by a landslide," she told AFP.

"There is no road. There is no house to live in, or land to farm if we go back."

But Tamang is one of the lucky ones -- hers is the first village for which Nepal's National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has earmarked land.

The NRA, a government agency administering the $4.1 billion pledged by donors to rebuild after the earthquake, recently completed a survey to identify areas at risk from landslides. 

It now plans to resettle the community in the new location -- although it is not clear when the rebuilding will actually start.

"They will be not just be given land," said NRA official Dhurba Sharma, insisting the agency was working on the resettlement plan "with priority".

"The vision is to develop settlements that are equipped with infrastructure, have schools for the children and offer livelihood options to residents."

Survivors whose homes were destroyed have been told they will get a 300,000 rupee ($3,000) grant to rebuild.

But many are growing impatient.

Birbal Tamang, a 64-year-old farmer whose house and cattle were swept away in the landslide, said he was counting days until he could start rebuilding his house.

"Technicians came with equipment and told us that our village is very dangerous," he told AFP.

"They have said they will give us land, but we don't know when we will get it. Perhaps I will grow old waiting."



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

IPL_2020
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp