Dolakha residents still await reliefFive weeks after the April 25 earthquake, Tashinam Village in Gaurishankar VDC of Dolakha district finally received relief material on Tuesday.
The relief, provided by the government, included 200 tarpaulins, 30 kg rice, 25 boxes of noodles, 25 boxes of beaten rice, 20 packets of salt and two boxes of biscuits. The locals, however, say that the supply is not enough for everybody.
“We are a village of 230 families. How many of us can share the amount of food provided?” says Mingma Choki Sherpa, a social worker from Tashinam.
The relief sent to Gaurishanker VDC was first flown to Simigaon, a neighbouring village, which has been cut off from Tashinam due to landslides, which have blocked all road access. The closest shops are in Jagat, which is a three-hour walk away, but the shops there have nothing to sell.
“We heard the WFP (World Food Program) dropped rice for us in Simigaon, but the area is too far to walk to and there are no roads. If we try to walk past the landslide, we could slip and fall into the river,” says Mingma Choki.
Dozens of people from different villages in Dolakha who had gone to the district headquarters in Singati to collect relief last month died after being trapped under the landslides.
Due to the lack of food, the villagers have been surviving on the wheat stock they recovered from the rubble of their homes.
“We need rice and oil so that people can cook proper meals,” says Temba Rinzi Sherpa, a resident of Tashinam Village.
The village is the most densely population village in Gaurishanker VDC, but due to the lack of roads, the relief was dropped in the nearby villages with comparatively smaller populations, where relief has been stockpiling owing to the lack of effective distribution.
After being cut off, choppers remain the only option for the village to get relief supplies.
“Shelter is the greatest necessity in this region, but it’s so difficult to reach the place,” says Prem Lal Lamichhane, the Chief District Officer of Dolakha district.
The residents say that the temporary shelters they have been living under have sustained damages owing to rough weather. They say that they will not even last until the monsoon.
To add to the woes of the residents, the farmers in the region are faced with a new challenge as insects have started eating up their crops.
“There are these red and greenish worms we have never seen before. And they have eaten up all the maize and potato leaves.
And they are ravenous, so we are losing our crops,” said Temba Rinzi. He says he has never seen anything like this in the 45 years of his life.
“The insects have eaten everything and it’s like there isn’t a single leaf remaining here. They also bite humans as they can easily enter the tarpaulins,” says Mingma Choki.
“The bites cause itchiness and vomiting and we don’t even know how they can be treated.
Moreover, we don’t even have medicines. All we have is some supplies that we managed to dig out from the debris of the health post.”
Lamichhane says a team of technical experts have been assigned to arrive from Kathmandu to look into the pestilence caused by the insects. But the residents’ level of frustration is growing. “Many of us are sick,” says Mingma Choki, between coughs. “We are all waiting for help. We are running out of food and patience.”