Families of windstorm victims denied relief due to lack of documentsFamilies of the people killed in the devastating windstorm in Bara district on March 31 have been deprived of relief extended by the provincial government due to a lack of necessary documents.
Families of the people killed in the devastating windstorm in Bara district on March 31 have been deprived of relief extended by the provincial government due to a lack of necessary documents.
Twenty-nine people died while hundreds of people were rendered homeless as the windstorm coupled with rain and hailstones wreaked havoc in Bara and Parsa. Twenty-eight people died in Bara alone.
A day after the disaster, the Province 2 government had declared that it would provide Rs 300,000 as relief to the families of the deceased. The bereaved families were directed to furnish their birth registration, kinship authentication paper, marriage registration, citizenship, and a document prepared by the local unit to verify their status as the victims.
However, families of 18 people killed in the storm are yet to receive the relief announced by the provincial government since they could not produce the necessary documents demanded by the authority.
On Friday, Chief Minister Mohammad Lalbabu Raut along with ministers, lawmakers and political party leaders arrived in Kalaiya, the district headquarters of Bara, to distribute the relief amount. The relief distribution programme was organised at the meeting hall of the District Coordination Committee where a large number of windstorm-affected people and activists had gathered.
Under the banner of the Association of Nepali Teraan in America (ANTA), Raut provided the relief amount to 10 out of the 28 affected families. He handed over Rs 300,000 on behalf of the provincial government and Rs 50,000 provided by the ANTA.
However, the district administration office of Bara was unaware about the programme and neither the Chief District Officer nor the representatives of the Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force were in attendance.
“The local administration was not made aware of the arrival of CM Raut. We were not informed about the relief distribution programme either. We do not know who received the relief and who are still deprived of it,” said an official at the district administration office.
Family members of all 28 victims had reached the venue, some travelling miles from their home, to receive the relief amount but were denied the relief citing lack of necessary documents.
Rustam Ansari of Pheta Rural Municipality-6 who lost four family members in the storm had to return home empty-handed.
“We were only told about the relief distribution yesterday and we did not know what we had to bring along. Since we did not have the required documents with us, we were denied the relief amount,” said Ansari.
Faijul Haque Miya of Pheta-6, whose wife and daughter-in-law were in the storm, was denied relief for his daughter-in-law’s death.
“They (the government) did not provide relief for my daughter-in-law, as she did not have a citizenship certificate, marriage registration or death registration documents. They provided the relief for my wife’s death only,” he said.
The provincial government has admitted of not providing the relief amount to all the families of the deceased.
“The CM had reached Kalaiya to distribute the relief provided by the ANTA. But he decided to hand over the government’s relief in the same function. He could distribute the relief to only 10 families of the victims as the other families did not have the required documents,” said Aatish Mishra, press advisor of CM Raut.
According to Mishra, the provincial government could not distribute the relief as the district administration office or the local units did not make avail the documents that verify the death of the victims.
“The remaining families of the deceased will get the relief in another phase. The CM has instructed the local units to prepare the documents of the bereaved families at the earliest,” he added.
The families of the deceased, however, unanimously complained that they were not told about the relief distribution, and that they were unaware about the necessary documents.
“Various organisations had provided help to the families. But it is unfortunate that the rural municipality did not prepare the required documents for the victims’ families to receive the relief,” said Bhaiyaram Yadav, a rights activist.