This Dashain not so exciting for the flood displaced
Baglung, Oct 10: Dashain, the biggest festival of the Nepali people, has arrived bringing with it the usual joy and excitement among the folks.
But for Basimaya Pariyar this Dashain is not going to be so exciting like in the previous years. The 52-year-old Pariyar was displaced like many others in her village as their houses were swept away by flood last monsoon.
“Where do we celebrate Dashain? We have no house and food stock. We are living in temporary shelters. Daughter and the son-in-law would be paying a visit during the festival. Where do you get the food grain to prepare delicacies for the guests,” Pariyar said, expressing her predicament.
She is not the only person with such worries this Dashain. Fourteen other families like hers at Bihun, Kahule at Kathekhola rural municipality-5 in Baglung district have the same problem. These families were rendered homeless when their houses were flattened by flood and landslide triggered by heavy rain on June 25.
Forty six people from 13 dalit families and one belonging to the indigenous nationality who were rendered homeless due to the disaster are taking shelter at their neighbours’ houses.
Indra Bahadur Pariyar, who works in Dubai, U.A.E., is coming home to be together with his family members this Dashain. But he will be home without his house. His wife and three offspring are living at their relative’s house with their family.
“The house and the cowshed have collapsed. The kitchen garden too has developed fissures,” said Sumitra Pariyar, Indra’s wife, expressing her distress of homelessness.
Most of the displaced families are living in rented rooms and working as daily wage labourers for a living. Their small landholdings were also swept away by flood and landslide.
Dil Bahadur Pariyar, 72, also lost his house to the disaster. He had recently constructed his house at a cost of the hard-earned Rs 200,000. But it took less than a second to the ruthless landslide to sweep it away on that fateful day. He has rented a room at his neighbour’s house and is living with his wife of 72 years. They pay Rs 1,000 monthly as rent.
The displaced families have not yet got the compensation and decent relief. Although initiatives have been started for resettling these displaced families, nothing concrete has happened.
The displaced families are in a distressful situation as they have not only lost their houses but also their precious small plots of farmland to the flood and landslide.
“We hardly have a square of meal. We have only got promises of relief and our resettlement,” said a desperate Hira Kumari Pun. She said the government officials and the local people’s representatives only tell them not to worry that they are there for their support but do not walk their talk.
Displaced Basimaya Pariyar said she spent many months in the hope of getting material and financial support from others for livelihood. Assurances and words were not enough to address their basic needs.
Ward chair Shiba Kandel admitted that there had been delay in compensating and rehabilitating the landslide victims. As he said, they have been searching for a safe area to resettle the displaced families. "It needs to be managed around Rs 2.5 million to make houses for 14 families," he said.
The Bihunkot Society Japan has already launched a fundraising campaign for the same and so far Rs 400 thousand has been collected. The collected amount was distributed to the affected families as Dashain expense.
The local- level commitments to constructing temporary shelters for them as immediate relief have remained unfulfilled yet. Rural municipality chair Ammar Thapa said they could not manage land for the construction of temporary shelter as promised to the displaced. Resettlement on public land may cause administrative and other problems in the future so we have advised them to find private land (if possible) to construct home. In the case of availability of land, houses for the displaced could be constructed under the People's Housing Programme.
The cave-in of earth at Kaule near the Mid-Hill Pushpalal Highway has also posed a threat to the highway. A team of geologists which had been here for a study following the incident concluded that Kaule was unfit for settlement. However, the incident caused no human casualty as the locals became aware of it on time and moved to safety. RSS