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Relief for fire gutted village

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
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Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai reached Siraha’s Aurahi VDC on Wednesday which was struck by tragedy that has engulfed six wards of the VDC burning down over 3000 houses and destroying property whose worth is yet to be ascertained. The village was ravaged by  the biggest fire country has seen in recent times that has left over 10,000 people homeless.

During the visit, Bhattarai was overwhelmed by thousands of men, women and children whose only remaining possession now was the pair of clothes on their body.  He immediately announced Rs 31,000 relief package to each family for immediate rehabilitation. Prime Minister was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Ishwor Pokharel, Home Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar, and Minister for Information and Communications Raj Kishor Yadav.

According to district administration Siraha, fire brigades from Lahan and nearby districts Dhanusha and Saptari have been trying to put out the fire but it was still out of their control until late in the afternoon on Wednesday.

After news of the fire spread, dozens of organizations and individuals from Kathmandu and nearby towns of Biratnagar, Ithari, Rajbiraj and Lahan have come forward to help. The Maoist cadres from Siraha district have taken the lead in helping arrange temporary shelters for the families while organizations like Nepal Gold and Silver Dealers’ Association and Transport Entrepreneurs Association have been distributing food and clothes to the victims.

Every year Nepal’s southern districts are ravaged by fires. Most of the houses in the region are made from highly flammable things like wood, bamboo and straw. Although, the people in Terai have become more aware about dangers of leaving open fires and unstubbed cigarette butts, in many case the fire starts accidentally from inside the house as was in the case of Siraha but victims complain the local administration was slow to respond which caused extensive damage that could have been avoided.

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