Quake-displaced people battle inclement weatherAround 34,000 earthquake-displaced people are living under tents in Jajarkot and Rukum West, according to government data.
Rains and snowfalls have added woes to the earthquake-displaced people in Jajarkot, Rukum West and Salyan districts. The victims who are still languishing in flimsy huts and tarpaulin tents are anxious about impending adverse weather conditions.
On Thursday, it rained in various parts of the country while high-altitude places witnessed snowfall. Many people became happy as it precipitated after a long winter drought. However, the quake-displaced people were affected by the increasing cold caused by the winter rains.
"It snowed in the surrounding hills, making the weather very cold and giving a hard time for those of us living under the tin-roof huts and tents," said Dhan Bahadur Jyoti, an earthquake victim from Ramidanda in Jajarkot. "Weather improved on Friday and Saturday but we don't know when it will rain again. Our poorly built huts are not good enough for the rainy season either."
The Meteorological Forecasting Division has predicted rains and snowfall in various places of Sudurpaschim, Karnali and Lumbini provinces on Sunday.
The earthquake survivors are exposed to difficulties due to the delayed reconstruction of temporary shelter and their rehabilitation. "Cold wind blows from the gaps of the temporary shelter. The situation will be unbearable when it rains," said Sushula Rana of Bheri Municipality-1 in Jajarkot.
The 6.4 magnitude earthquake that hit Jajarkot and Rukum West on November 3 and affected some areas in Salyan damaged around 8,000 public and private houses. There have been at least 157 reported deaths from Jajarkot and Rukum West, officials said.
According to Karnali Provincial Police, some 34,501 houses were destroyed in Jajarkot and 16,909 in Rukum West. In Salyan, a total of 2,821 people were displaced in the earthquake.
The federal government, according to the Temporary Housing Construction Grant Procedure for Earthquake Affected Households-2023, provides Rs50,000 in two tranches to each displaced family whose house was completely or partially damaged and has become inhabitable.
However, many earthquake-displaced people are still languishing under flimsy tarpaulin tents and huts due to delays in the distribution of housing aid. According to the government authorities, around 34,000 earthquake-displaced people are still under the tents in Jajarkot and Rukum West.
According to the District Administration Office in Jajarkot, 42,524 families have been enlisted in the eligible beneficiaries list in the district by Thursday. But only 16,318 households have completed the construction of temporary shelters as of now.
The situation is similar in Rukum West as well. Of the total 27,036 beneficiaries, only 18,866 families have constructed temporary shelters till date.
The reconstruction of temporary shelters has been delayed due to a lack of human resources as well. The families who do not have adult members have a tough time rebuilding shelters. "I received the first tranche of Rs25,000 but I could not build the shelter,” said Putali Pariyar of Aathbiskot Municipality-14 in Rukum West. “My only son is abroad for employment. We cannot find people to construct houses. So I am still living under the tent."
Lack of proper shelter has resulted in several of the displaced falling ill in the winter cold, with reports indicating as many as 36 cold-related deaths in Jajarkot and Rukum West. The elderly people, children, postpartum mothers and people with chronic illnesses are hardest hit due to severe cold.
"Even the people living in the temporary shelter have difficulties when it rains,” said Maisar Jaisi, another quake-affected person from Aathbiskot-13. “The hardship of those living under the tents is unimaginable. The water entered the shelter when it rained on Thursday. What will be our plight in the upcoming monsoon?"