Flood victims of Bhajani still seeking safe shelterMore than 550 families displaced by flood in July have moved to a community forest area from the Postal Highway.
The flood displaced families in Bhajani Municipality, Kailali, have moved to Mohanyal Community Forest from the Postal Highway, where they had been taking shelter after their settlements were flooded on July 29.
More than 550 families have pitched their tents in the forest area.
“Living on the Postal Highway got increasingly difficult for us because of continuous rainfall. So we moved to the forest 10 days ago,” said Khemraj Kafle, one of the flood survivors from Bhajani Ward No. 8.
The displaced people say their homes are still waterlogged and they cannot return just yet.
“At least the forest provides better cover from the rainfall," Kafle said.
Meanwhile, Sher Bahadur Chaudhary, the municipal mayor, has claimed that not all the families living in the community forest are flood displaced.
“Some people have moved to the forest with the intention of encroaching the land. We are trying to identify the genuine flood victims to resettle them elsewhere,” he said.
The municipal office has also been assessing the damage caused by the flood.
The initial record of the municipality showed that 3,200 families have been affected by the flood.
“Around 150 families have been displaced and they now have nowhere to live,” said Chaudhary.
Jayasara Kami, another flood survivor from Bhajani Ward No. 3, dismissed the mayor’s claim that some of them had moved to the community forest to take over the forestland.
“We came here to save our lives. We moved from the Postal Highway because living under the open sky with continuous rainfall was difficult,” she said.
The displaced families, according to Kami, are still living with no provisions for food and sanitation facilities.
“The food grains provided by the municipality on August 4 barely lasted us for two weeks. We are now surviving on the food grains that we had managed to salvage from our homes,” she said.
The flood survivors say for some families returning to their settlements is out of the question, as their homes were destroyed in the flood.
“None of the houses in Ward No 8 is livable. The houses are filled with sand washed in by floodwaters,” said Kafle. “The whole municipality is at risk of inundation since the rainfall has not stopped.”
The flood that occurred in the last week of July had displaced 165 households of Krishnanagar, Kadadhik, Barchaud and Khallagaun in Bhajani Ward No.8, 115 households of Dailekhtol, Kusumghat and Barduwa in Bhajani Ward No. 3, 250 households of Kauwakheda and Kalapathhar in Bhajani Ward No. 5, 20 households of Namabasti Paduwaphant in Bhajani Ward No. 1 and 35 households of Charra in Bhajani Ward No. 7.