Around 750 earthquake victims still living in landslide-prone settlements in RasuwaWhile some families have taken grants from the government to buy a plot of land, most are awaiting relocation to integrated settlements built by the government.
Many families who were displaced by the 2015 earthquake in Rasuwa were moved to various parts of the district by the National Reconstruction Authority.
However, a study conducted by the authority a few months after the relocation had shown that most of the families were vulnerable to landslides during the rainy season.
Hundreds of displaced families are still living in temporary shelters in areas that are prone to monsoon-induced natural disasters, the study showed.
A technical team of the National Reconstruction Authority had studied the earthquake-weakened topography in the district and the areas where the displaced families were relocated to a few months after the 2015 earthquake. The team had enlisted 70 places that were at risk of landslide and had recommended relocation of the settlement to other areas. The team said 30 among 70 settlements were at high risk of landslides and had to be relocated immediately. But the settlements are yet to be moved.
Hundreds of families have been staying in Rasuwa and in the neighbouring Nuwakot district after their villages were ravaged by landslides triggered by the 2015 earthquake. A good number of the earthquake victims are staying in Khalte of Uttargaya Rural Municipality Ward No. 5 that has been marked as a flood and landslide-prone area.
"We have been living in this area for the past five years. We live in fear of floods and landslides every rainy season," said Chheku Lama, an earthquake victim staying in Khalte. Two hundred and thirty-one displaced families are currently staying in Khalte. “We have requested the authorities concerned to help us relocate to a safe place but nothing has been done yet.”
Besides Khalte, various settlements in Uttargaya Rural Municipality and Gosaikunda Rural Municipality were enlisted as landslide-prone areas in the study conducted by the National Reconstruction Authority.
According to the District Project Implementation Unit of the NRA, a total of 1,127 families living in landslide-prone areas were enlisted in the beneficiary list of the 2015 earthquake victims. The office said the government provided a grant of Rs 200,000 each to 687 families to buy land to rebuild their houses.
"But only 268 families have built or have started constructing their houses," said Saroj Kumar Yadav, an engineer at the unit.
According to him, around 750 families are still living in landslide-prone settlements in the district.
The government provides a Rs 200,000 grant to quake-displaced families who prefer voluntary relocation to buy land plots. To receive the grant, the local unit should recommend the beneficiary stating that his/her settlement is at risk of landslides and he/she does not have a plot of land in a safer area to build a house. According to Yadav, the beneficiaries who opt for voluntary relocation should search for the land plot themselves.
The rest of the beneficiaries who do not want to take the grant are to be kept in integrated settlements built by the government. The process to construct integrated settlements is underway in Langbu, Tiru, Bogtitar, Pairebesi and Pangling in the district. But the construction of none of the integrated settlements has been completed yet.
"The delay in preparing a detailed project report and the lockdown are the main reasons behind the delay in the construction of the integrated settlements," said Yadav.
A total of 12,817 families have been included in the list of beneficiaries for the housing reconstruction aid in Rasuwa district. The unit said 10,998 houses have been constructed so far.