A woman carries a rug that she rescued from her destroyed house, this Sunday in the Nepalese town of Chiuri. EFE/Narendra Shrestha

Nepal’s earthquake victims fight cold in tents as winter sets in

Kathmandu, November 5 (EFE) – Hundreds of earthquake victims have complained that the authorities have completely ignored them, leaving them to languish in the cold under the open sky without proper food and sanitation.

“We have been languishing in tents in the cold,” Man Bahadur BK of Bheri Municipality-2 in Jajorkot told Efe, adding “The government has ignored us.”

BK’s house was destroyed by the earthquake. He now lives in the open air with his children. “I had a small house and it was destroyed too. I have nowhere to go.”

He said the government has provided tents, but it is very difficult to stay under them during the cold nights as winter sets in.

An aerial view of damaged house after earthquake in Chiuri village, Jajarkot, Nepal, 05 November 2023. EFE/EPA/NARENDRA SHRESTHA

Gopal BK from the same community is also suffering. His stone and mud house was damaged, “there is nothing left. It’s all gone in a flash,” he told Efe.

Gopal also explained there is no proper distribution of food or sanitation in the quake-hit areas.

Nirmala Sharma from the village of Chhepare, who was rescued with her two children when her house collapsed on Saturday morning, also spent the cold night in the open with two children and a hungry stomach.

“There is no place to sleep. We don’t even have anything to live in. No one has come to help us. We spent Saturday night outside in the cold,” she said.

Mukund Bhattarai, a seismologist from the Geological Department, told Efe on Saturday that Jajarkot suffered the most damage due to the poor construction of houses.

“Most of the houses in these areas are made of mud and stone in the steep terrain, the poor structure was the reason behind the high number of casualties,” he explained.

There were no casualties at the epicenter of Friday’s earthquake in Jajarkot, although 157 people were killed elsewhere in the same district and in neighboring Rukum West.

A woman walks next to a damaged house in Khalanga, a district headquater of Jajarkot, Nepal, 05 November 2023. EFE/EPA/NARENDRA SHRESTHA

According to the National Earthquake Monitoring and Research Center, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake was recorded in Ramidanda village in Barikot Rural Municipality.

The government has yet to assess the damage caused by the quake, but initial estimates show that thousands of houses, mostly made of mud and stone, collapsed and were reduced to rubble.

According to Nepal Police, 105 people died in Jajarkot, a remote hill district and another 52 were killed in the neighboring Rukum West.

Chandra Prakash Gharti, mayor of Bheri Municipality in Jajarkot, told Efe that until Saturday they were focused on search and rescue operations and now they have prioritized the distribution of aid.

“Thousands of houses were destroyed. Due to the fear of aftershocks, even people whose houses weren’t damaged are forced to live in tents,” he said.

“We need to provide tens of thousands of tents and food for all the displaced people until the temporary arrangements are made,” the mayor explained.

“As winter has set in, it is difficult for people to spend their nights under the open sky,” he added.

Gharti also said that in many areas, injured people were receiving medical treatment under the open sky.

Aid Announcement

Nepal’s cabinet meeting on Sunday decided to rebuild houses within a year and provide temporary shelter to all affected people.

People inspect damaged house in Khalanga, a district headquater of Jajarkot, Nepal, 05 November 2023. EFE/EPA/NARENDRA SHRESTHA

The government of Nepal has also announced that it will provide Rs200,000 (US$1,500) in relief to each family of those killed in the earthquake, government spokeswoman Rekha Sharma told a media briefing on Sunday.

It also decided to provide free treatment to those injured in the quake at all hospitals and to accept assistance offered by neighboring countries and international organizations.

So far, the Chinese government has announced relief supplies worth Rs 100 million (US$ 751,879).

“As an initial emergency response, China will provide about Rs 100 million worth of materials, including tents and blankets, to the earthquake-affected areas”. Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Chen Song wrote on X, officially Twitter

“This assistance will be provided by China’s Emergency Supplies Reserve for South Asian Countries. All these materials will arrive in a few days. More aid is on the way, ” the diplomat added. EFE