People displaced by the earthquake in Rasuwa are still awaiting resettlementAs many as 174 quake-displaced families are staying in temporary shelters at Khalte.
It’s around noon. The poorly built tin-roofed hut is scorching hot under the sun. Lalu Maya Tamang, who is in her early thirties, is fanning herself with a notebook to beat the unbearable heat.
“We cannot stay inside the hut in the afternoon. We have to endure similar hardship in the cold. And the entire settlement is at high risk during the rainy and stormy season,” said Lalu Maya, who was displaced by the earthquake and has been languishing in the flimsy hut at Khalte in Uttargaya Rural Municipality-5, Rasuwa, for the past seven years.
Lalu Maya’s four-member family has been staying at the temporary settlement after the 2015 earthquake destroyed their two-storey stone-and-mud house at Uttargaya-1. She has two small daughters. Lalu Maya and her husband are daily wage earners.
“We have been staying in the hut in a pitiable condition. We have been impatiently waiting for resettlement for the past seven years, to no avail. We cannot return to our ancestral settlement as it has become prone to landslides after the earthquake,” said Lalu Maya. “We are left in a lurch. The government is indifferent towards our hardships and sufferings. We may have to spend our whole life in a temporary shelter.”
As many as 174 earthquake displaced families have been staying in the temporary shelter at Khalte. The settlement lies on the bank of the Trishuli river. The temporary settlement is also at high risk of floods during the rainy season. The flooded river had entered the settlement two years back.
“We cannot sleep well during the monsoon season. We stay awake when it rains heavily. We shiver in the winter season. We are living in such hardship but the authorities concerned are indifferent to our plights,” said Tsheju Tamang, another quake-displaced. According to her, the government authorities and the people’s representatives have forgotten the earthquake victims and their hardship. “Leaders of various political parties had assured us of our resettlement during the elections of 2017. Another election is here but their commitments remain unfulfilled,” said Tsheju.
The earthquake-displaced people have complained that they have little faith in the government authorities and the people’s representatives now to resolve their problems. “We are gradually losing trust in the government and the leaders as they only make commitments but never implement them,” said Lalu Maya.
According to the District Administration Office in Rasuwa, the government has already acquired a land plot to set up an integrated settlement for 103 displaced families in Tallo Pahirebesi area. However, the construction of the integrated settlement is yet to begin.
Rasuwa’s Chief District Officer Nabaraj Jaisi said that construction of the integrated settlement would commence soon after the May 13 local elections. “The district administration is well aware of the ordeals of the quake displaced people,” Jaisi said, adding that efforts are underway to acquire land to resettle 71 remaining earthquake-displaced families of Khalte. He, however, does not have a concrete answer to why the resettlement process has been so delayed.
A technical team of the then National Reconstruction Authority had studied the earthquake-weakened topography in Rasuwa and the areas where the displaced families were relocated 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.