Female quake victims deprived of identity cardsThe government formally kick-started the post-earthquake reconstruction works on Saturday, but this has not brought joy to the earthquake survivors who have still not received the victims’ identity cards so far.
The government formally kick-started the post-earthquake reconstruction works on Saturday, but this has not brought joy to the earthquake survivors who have still not received the victims’ identity cards so far.
They fear they could be left out in the reconstruction and rehabilitation programmes.
Sarita Tamang, a 25-year-old widow and a mother of three, has not received the identity card. Tamang, who hails from Syampati village in Kavre, lost her husband over two years. The couple had not registered their marriage. Now, Tamang says, her in-laws are refusing to accept her
thus barring her from acquiring earthquake victim identity card.“My worry has increased ten-fold since yesterday, after I heard news of the government has formally begun reconstruction work. My hope of somehow getting enlisted has gone now. I urge the government to find a way to get people like me who have been unable to get the identity cards,” she said.
It’s been nearly nine months since the April 25 earthquake devastated a large part of central Nepal, but the authorities still do not have the exact data on the number of families affected by the disaster.
The Post Disaster Needs Assessment Report left out many people like Tamang who are not listed as the victims.
Tamang used to live with her in-laws. The house had been divided among the family members; despite living under the same roof, Tamang and her children were living in a separate room as a separate family.
The house was destroyed by the earthquake. When Tamang tried to enlist herself and the children at a separate family for relief, officials refused to do so.
Nirjala Chitrakar of Patan Sundhara has a similar tale. Chitrakar too has been unable to get her name in the list of quake victims. She too had not registered her marriage with her husband who is currently in Malaysia. Without the husband, she said, she could not convince the officials into issuing her the identity card.
Women rights activists say several women have been left out in the relief process due to the social structure and deep-rooted patriarchal values. They said the government must find a way to ensure that the genuine victims are not left out.
“We have felt that many women who are genuine quake victims have not been able to acquire the identity cards because they have been unable to submit the papers. Some do not have marriage registration certificates, some could not prove that they have separated. Many women were also left out because they could not travel to the district headquarters on their own and do the paperworks,” said Manu Humagain, acting chairperson of National Women Council.
Humagain said a majority of the women who were unable to enlist themselves in the government’s list do not have economic resource to build a house on their own.
She also urged the government to reassess the number of these victims and incorporate women who have been left out.