Five years on, Phopli landslide victims yet to receive any helpThe landslide of July 25, 2016, killed 27 individuals and displaced around 200 families.
Five years ago, Teke Pun, a resident of Phopli in Naubahini Rural Municipality-8, Pyuthan, lost his daughter-in-law and grandson in a landslide just above his house. Pun also lost 10 other relatives in the same landslide.
“Every monsoon, I get reminded of that tragic day,” Pun said. “Our settlement is still at risk of landslides. The authorities have yet to move the settlement to a safe location.”
Another Chhima Pun of the same settlement also lost her family members in the landslide five years ago.
“My brother and two sisters were killed in the landslide that swept away our house. We have been living in a shed since then,” she said.
According to the District Administration Office in Pyuthan, the landslide of July 25, 2016 had killed 27 individuals in Phopli and displaced around 200 families.
Soon after the massive landslide, the then Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal had assured the landslide victims of relief on a par with the earthquake victims of 2015.
“However, we have yet to receive any financial assistance from the government,” said Chhima. “We only got some clothes and food grains as relief after the disaster.”
According to the local people of Phopli, around 50 households in the village are still at high risk of landslides.
“Many politicians visited us and promised to relocate the settlement to a safe location. But they did not live up to their commitment,” said Puthe BK of Phopli. “Around 80 houses in the village sustained damages and cracks after the landslide. The settlement is at risk but we cannot move to a safe place by ourselves. The government has completely ignored our plight.”
A few months ago, the federal government constructed seven houses near a local forest in Phopli under the People’s Housing Programme for the displaced families in Phopli.
But the local people do not want to move there, as the houses have been built in the middle of the forest and they are reluctant to leave their ancestral village.
Shivaraj Rijal, the chairman of Naubahini Rural Municipality, said the local unit has also managed electricity and drinking water facilities for the newly constructed houses.
“But the beneficiaries refused to move there, stating that the houses have been built by the forest,” said Rijal.
Ward Chairman of Naubahini-8 Obe Kami admits that the seven houses constructed at Rambari are not sufficient to house all the displaced families of Phopli.
“The authorities could not find a safe location for all the displaced families,” Kami said.
The District Administration Office in Pyuthan, however, said that it had no knowledge about the high landslide risk at Phopli.
“Other local units have informed us about several settlements that are at high risk of landslides and floods. But we have not received any information about Phopli as of now,” said Chief District Officer Khimraj Bhusal.