On 21st May, 2015, a team of three, Mr. Prakash Amatya, Dr. Roshan Raj Shrestha and I went to Sankhu and Siddhipur. We visited the areas for need assessment and field reporting.
Our first stop was Sankhu which was highly affected by the earthquake of 25th April, 2015. More than 90% of the houses are destroyed in Sankhu. People are living in tents since the day of earthquake. Rubbles of broken houses have filled the roads. The Canadian army and Nepalese army were clearing off the road so that at least the affected areas would be reached. But they need some more hands to complete the work soon. Even in the third week of earthquake the team could clear only one road but was not completed. So they needed more workers to clear the road and the rubbles from the houses. On the way I met Kishori Maya Shrestha and her granddaughter Jesica Shrestha. They were harvesting wheat from its seed. Despite of the earthquake, they didn’t stop their daily activity and continued their work which was necessary to run their family. Their house only had some cracks but still they are afraid to enter their house and are living in tents.
We stopped in a hotel for tea. Mangal Maya Shrestha, age 61 and her son run the hotel. Her house was completely ruined by the earthquake but her family was safe. The shop was only what they had left to sustain their family. The earthquake was not only which had made their life difficult. But even after the earthquake they are suffering a lot. They don’t have proper drinking water. The earthquake rubbles have covered well nearby and the water supply is off since earthquake. They didn’t even have water to serve their guests and people passing by which she said with tears in her eyes. She said that their life would be a little easier if they would get drinking water.
The major issue in Sankhu was settlement followed by drinking water. The houses are completely destroyed and they were living in farmlands which need to clear before monsoon so they can start rice plantation. So the rubbles needed to be cleared soon so that they can start making temporary houses in their own land before monsoon which seems challenging. Further they are hardly getting drinking water. There are tankers and filters but everyone cannot reach them. Some water filters are stooped from their operation as people were using the water for washing and bathing purposes.
After completing our assessment in Sankhu, we headed towards Siddhipur for our assessment. The earthquake destroyed most of the houses in Siddhipur. People were living in tents distributed by the relief distribution team and for whom tarpaulins didn’t reached they made the tents out of rice bag and other materials but now they have started constructing temporary settlement made from bricks, mud and tin roof. They are starting their works all by themselves. Mangal Das Maharjan and his family were also making temporary settlement as earthquake destroyed their house. Clearing the rubbles of the destroyed houses took away NRs. 1,30,000 from us. The work is still going on and now we are making temporary settlement in somebody else’s land said Mangal Das Maharjan. We are out of tin roof and it is the only thing for which we need help from others he added.
In Siddhipur WASH volunteers are actively working in construction of temporary toilets. On the day they completed 4 toilets and they were still working. It takes about 1hr to complete one toilet but there is lack of tools so works are getting delayed said one volunteer.
By Uzabi Baidar, GUTHI