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Jure six months on

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

David Seddon

Last week this paper reported that the survivors of west Nepal’s monsoon floods are waiting out the winter for government relief. The situation of the victims of the Jure landslide is not much different. Together, the reports represent an indictment of the government’s response to these disasters and the inadequacy of the much trumpeted donor and government programs and procedures for relief and rehabilitation and resilience.

Exactly six months ago today, on 3 August 2014 a  massive landslide in Jure of Sindhupalchok blocked the Bhote Kosi river, buried homes and destroyed fields. The Ban Sanghu Secondary School was swept away.

Settlements in Mangka and Ramche VDCs were the most affected, together with Jure itself and parts of Tekanpur and hundreds were left dead and injured. Substantial funds were donated by the private sector and by other agencies, foreign and national. Compensation and the immediate relief operation were co-ordinated by the CDO and LDO and assisted by the Border Security Police (SP). Shelter was provided at the manganese factory in Bansanghu and tents were set up in the grounds for those who had lost their homes. Others found refuge with family and friends nearby, or rented further afield.

Local officials and community-based groups of various kinds had already been effectively mobilised, and were providing what support they could. Relief operations were reasonably effective in the short run but even then reconstruction and rehabilitation seem a long way off  .

Six months after the landslide the re-settlement of those affected has really only just begun. Thirty-five people belonging to eight families remain in temporary accommodation as most have been obliged in the interim to find their own places to stay, locally with family and friends or neighbours, or further afield, and to seek painfully to re-construct their livelihoods.

It seems that it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Urban Development to re-build and re-settle those who lost their homes in the landslide. This may be because much of the damage was done to the road-side settlements. The CDO has been asked to provide details of those who previously owned land and of those who did not for the Ministry which plans to build homes for those with land on their own plots and to find land on which to build for those who had no land of their own. The rumour is that the latter will be resettled at Ashi Kilo, some distance away from their previous residences.

But why has the process taken so long? And why is it that some of those who suffered losses are still not fully compensated? Questions must also be asked about what has happened to the large amount of funds that were donated last year. Can the local authorities account for this missing money and state clearly how it will be spent for the benefit of the landslide victims, whose lives were so traumatised and who have yet to recover from this disaster?

Read also:

Left in the cold, #743
The poorest hit hardest by floods, #722

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