Struggle to pee and poo

Nepal Earthquake 2015 destroyed every house of the 15 families’ livng in Maheshwori Sibhir, Bhaktapur.

The families belong to poor economic background and are not capable to construct their houses; hence, they are residing in the temporary shelters for more than 2 years now. The temporary shelters are built on the private land owned by Chini Maya Nakarmi. She too lives in the temporary shelter. “I felt sad when my brother could not live with me in this temporary shelter because we do not have any toilet here. I got embarrased when I shared the truth of not having toilet in the shelter. There is no drainage system which is why I am not being able to construct toilet. If only the drainage system is connected to this area, it could be better.”, quipped Nakarmi, 74 years of age.

Before the temporary shelters were constructed, the land was used for agricultural purpose. They had planned to construct sanitation facility but due to no sewerage connection to dispose off the faecal sludge, they were unable to construct any. As a result, the people for the past two years have been either knocking the doors of their neighbours for relieving themselves or running to the nearby rivers and municipality sanctioned toilet to pee and/or poo. They most often end up defecating near rivers as municiality toilet is not enough for such many people leading to the high probability of water borne diseases as cholera.

The children too reside in the camp. They can not wait longer to reach the rivers for defecation due to which, most of the time, they defecate or urinate around the camp causing unhygienic environment to live in. Similarly, it is not limited to the environmental and health hazard but it is also penetrating to the social hazard as many relatives of the IDPs seldom visit them and if they do visit them, they do not and can not stay over. They can not perform any social functions in the camp.

Defecating openly is also associated with the dignity of the people rather than subsidizing it with the health and environment aspects only. “Whenever I come to visit my mother, I avoid staying overnight in this camp because we do not have any toilet here. I have to go to the nearby river for the excretion and sometimes I go to the neighbor's house. But it is embarrassing. If only a toilet was constructed out here, it could have been better.” Punam Sitikhu, daughter of one of the IDP.

The municipality sanctioned toilet is situated at the lower geographical area. Due to this difficulty the people on Maheswori camp are compelled to rent a room for their kids (who cannot bear the pressure of defecating), so that they don’t have to suffer the same way. Eventhough the financial status of the people is very weak; they rent the rooms in other places.

Gopi Maya, 55 years old shared, “One of my son and his family live in a rented room because in this camp, there is no toilet facility. Though it is expensive and economically burden to HIM, he prefers to live there as my grandson is young and he does not want his son to get infected by the diseases.”

Living in an IDP camp is not an easy task. The people, in order to fetch water, either opt to walk for approximately 20 minutes to their old homes or join the queue of thirsty people to collect water from municipal water supply if they get the information that the municipal water is supplied by their well wishers. Rima Duwal, 32 years old shared, "Our camp has been in the victimized state for the last 2 years. There is no water and sanitation facility in our camp.” She further shared the necessity to walk 15-20 minutes uphill to fill up the jars with water which is supplied in 4 days interval. “There is a lot of a person on queue for filling up their jars,” she further added.

Construction of toilets is a dire need of the people living in Maheshwori Sibhir.

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