Friday, 28 July 2017

Attention, Please!

It has been over two years since Nepal encountered a devastating earthquake which claimed the lives of more than 8,000 people whilst leaving nearly 22 thousand people injured and destroying thousands of houses and landmarks.
The saddest part of this catastrophe is that most of the people who lost their homes have still been compelled to live in the same unfortunate situation that started immediately after the two major earthquakes and a series of subsequent aftershocks.
The epicenter of these earthquakes was Gorkha -- a place I recently visited -- and people there are still waiting to shift from their temporary shelter into a proper house; they are hopelessly hoping for the fund that the government had promised them.
Dhruba Khankhawas is one of these people. He is from Prithvi Municipality, Rip Kafalghari. He shared his incredible story with me. He is a low-paid worker in the hotel industry who has to support four school-going children and wife. With a gloomy expression he said, “If I had enough money to build a house, I would do that. This is the third year that my family is staying in a temporary hut in our farm land. We are scared, particularly in the rainy season that we might get bitten by snakes.”
Out of my curiosity I asked him whether he had correctly gone through the process to obtain the earthquake relief fund being provided by the government. According to him, he did everything; he got the earthquake victim ID, completed all the necessary forms and followed what was going on but in vain.
The government had announced plans to give cash grants of Rs. 3, 00,000 for those who lost their home during the Baishakh 12 and 29 earthquakes in three installments. Unfortunately, despite fulfilling all the formalities, Dhruba’s family has not received even a first installment yet. He said there are many other families who face the same predicament.
The other day I read a news story that Durbar High School, the oldest school in the heart of Kathmandu city has also been waiting for reconstruction. We all know schools are the most sensitive space to be as hundreds of children go to them every day so they must be safe. The children at Durbar High School on the other hand are risking their lives by studying in makeshift tents located just in front of the damaged building which could collapse at any moment. Even though the head teacher has constantly approached the concerned departments asking for help to rebuild the school, his concerns have not been addressed yet. 
If we compare Khankhawas’ position to that of Durbar High School’s, both are suffering a similar fate regardless of locating in a village or the capital city. These are just two cases but there are thousands of such cases going unnoticed. Is it fair to make people wait for this long just to provide them with what they have been entitled to? These people have already lost so many things including their near and dear. They do not deserve to permanently lose their homes or their hope for a better and safe life in the coming years.
(Published in an English Daily The Rising Nepal on Friday, July 21, 2017 

[The pictures on this blog are posted here with permission from their owners or have been gathered from various sources on the Internet. If you are the copyright-holder to any of the photographs herein do not hesitate to contact me. They will be swiftly removed if desired so.]

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I would appreciate any and all suggestions on making improvements (as long as they are viable).