Families who survived the earthquake and the monsoon are now braving winter and the Indian fuel blockade
After the earthquake in April severely damaged her rented room, three-month pregnant Laxmi Nepali, 27, moved to a tented camp in Chuchepati near Baudha with her family.
But life was hard in the tents and despite aftershocks she moved back to her room. But with the fuel crisis caused by the Indian blockade and the shortage of gas, the landlord refused to allow them to cook with firewood. Nepali and her new-born baby (pic, above) are back in the Chuchepati shelter.
“The dew seeps in through the tent and dampens the blankets and my baby is frequently sick,” she tells us, “all my belongings are here because we don’t know how long we will have to live like this.”
Kalpana Shakya, 33, also shifted to the shelter in April after the earthquake damaged her room. As it got colder, the Shakyas moved back to their rented room. However, the landlord refused to let them cook using firewood so they are also back in Chuchepati.
“The landlord told us he will rent out the room to only those who can cook using gas stoves, and we can’t afford it,” says Shakya who is from Udaypur. The landlord didn’t even reimburse the rent.
The Chuchepati Shelter, which was almost deserted in September, is now full again with families like the Nepalis and Shakyas. More than 100 new tents have sprung up in the last two months and there are nearly 500 families sharing them.
“Many families who returned to their homes have come back in recent months because their landlords don’t allow the use of firewood,” said Dawa Sherpa of Noble Compassionate Volunteer Group that supervises the camp. “Earlier they were quake victims, today they are blockade victims.”
Besides families who have returned, there are others who have camped out at the shelter in hopes of getting relief supplies.
When news of a Taiwanese monk distributing blankets in the shelter spread, dozens of new tents are said to have come up overnight. As elsewhere, it is hard to say how many families in Chuchepati are genuinely needy.
Winter emergency for quake survivors, Kunda Dixit
Homesless in winter, Om Astha Rai
Race against winter