Fire victims in Tehrathum await rehabilitationThirty-five people have been staying in makeshift tents since their houses were destroyed in March 26 fire.
The fire-displaced families of Simle Bayarbung settlement at Phedap Rural Municipality-1, Tehrathum, have been left in a lurch, as authorities concerned are yet to take initiatives for their rehabilitation.
On March 26, a bushfire from a nearby forest spread to the settlement and burnt as many as 21 houses. Seven families were rendered homeless by the fire. The incident site is around 25 km east from Myanglung, the district headquarters of Tehrathum.
Thirty-five people of the seven displaced families have been staying in makeshift tents of tarpaulins since then.
They were provided with immediate relief by the Tehrathum branch of Nepal Red Cross Society after the incident
“All our properties were destroyed in the fire. We were provided with some relief immediately after the incident but the government has yet to take measures to rehabilitate us,” said Purna Bahadur Thapa, a fire victim. “We are living in our farmland. We can’t go on like this for longer since the monsoon will begin soon. We want rehabilitation.”
He complained that the district administration, local unit and social organisations have not taken any initiatives to reconstruct their houses before the rainy season.
“The local government and some social organisations provided us with food, beddings and utensils. But nobody has provided us any support to rebuild our houses. How can we spend the rainy season under filmy tarpaulins? The government should know about our situation and immediately provide aid for housing reconstruction,” said Shukra Bahadur Majhi, another displaced person from Simle Bayarbung.
The fire victims also expressed their concerns about a possible shortage of timber required for housing reconstruction.
“There are pine trees in the local community forests. But the pine logs are not strong enough for building purposes,” said Bir Bahadur Karki, another fire victim.
Meanwhile, Gita Devi Thapa, the vice-chairperson of Phedap Rural Municipality, said that the municipal office will provide assistance to the fire victims to reconstruct their houses.
“Discussions are underway regarding the reconstruction of houses for the fire victims. We will coordinate with the concerned authorities as well,” Thapa said.
As per the preliminary report prepared by the rural municipality, properties worth around Rs 20 million were destroyed in the fire incident.
Seventy-four-year-old Nara Maya Bhandari has gone missing since the fire. Local residents and security personnel suspect that the elderly woman might have died when her house caught fire.
“We suspect that Bhandari might have burnt to ashes in the house fire. We could not find any remnants of her,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police Gautam Thapa.