Duwachaur VDC waits for aidDuwachaur VDC, which lies 80 kilometres north-east of Kathmandu, is yet to see any relief material, 12 days after the Great Quake.
The dirt road that connects the VDC to the Melamchi bazaar, which had been blocked by landslides in the aftermath of the earthquake, was finally cleared on Monday. Till now, the only form of relief that the villagers have got has come in the form of three mini trucks loaded with food that were sent by monasteries in Kathmandu.
Tasi Dong, 33, of Virkuna, Ward No 7, is one among dozens of villagers who have now gathered by the side of the dirt road, to wait for relief material to arrive. According to him, forty-five people in his ward have lost their lives to the quake, while 65 houses have collapsed and scores of cattle have perished during and after the disaster.
“Even those of us who survived the quake are faring badly. The whole village is suffering from diarrhoea and food poisoning. No doctor has come to our place until now,” says Dong, who lost four members of his family to the disaster. He also says that he had to team up with a handful of other young people in the village to bury over a dozen dead bodies in the paddy fields. “When the quake hit us, there were just five young people in the village. So we were forced to take care of everything from rescuing the trapped people to burying the dead,” says Dong. Like most of the other Nepali villages, this village too has seen its youth population travel to Kathmandu, the Gulf countries and Malaysia for job. ”
The villagers say that military choppers keep flying over their head, but none of them land in their place with necessary aid. “We are not getting any help because we don’t have any connection with the politicians, and also because we haven’t received electricity post quake, due to which our phones have gone dead,” says Nabin Tamang, a native of the area.
The situation at Barje Tole and Jadan Gumba, two other villages in the VDC lying around a 45-minute walk away from Virkuna, is even worse. 107 people are said to have lost their lives in the two localities. Almost all the houses in the area have been reduced to rubble. And those who survived the disaster are now living in a shelter that they constructed out of wooden posts and corrugated iron sheets dug out of the debris.
Ghalong Lama, 55, a resident of Jadan Gumba, who lost his mother and three other relatives in the disaster, is angry at the lack of any response from the government officials. More than a week after the earthquake, Lama travelled to the Melamchi Bazaar by foot on Monday to talk to VDC Secretary Khem Raj Budhathoki and get some help. But, unable to find Budhathoki in the bazaar, he was forced to return empty-handed. “He is the person who is supposed to look after our village. But he is out of contact,” says Lama.
Now that they are running out of food, Lama is worried that the people in the area might start dying due to starvation. “We have been managing with the dug-out wheat and rice, which we had savaged from the rubble, and some potatoes, so far. But they won’t last for long and we don’t know how we will manage after that,” says Lama.
Weeds have outgrown the recently planted corn in the villagers’ fields, cracks and fissures have cleaved the land at places, and the villagers are ill prepared for the rice-planting season, which is just round the corner.
Durga Nepali, a mother of three, with a five-year-old son in tow, says: “We don’t have the energy work in the fields. The whole area reeks of dead, rotten bodies, and if we don’t get immediate help from outside, we will die of diseases and hunger.”