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Cast aside and forgotten

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Nala, a sleepy and scenic little village in Kavre, was one of the lucky places in the earthquake on 25 April that devastated Central Nepal — no one was killed and many of its houses survived.

Which is also why it is not getting any relief material or help, even though there are people here who lost everything.

Compared to other villages in the outskirts of the valley, Nala easily accessible through Bhaktapur and Banepa, doesn’t show much signs of damage from the outside. A few houses collapsed, roofs have caved in in others, damaging the houses from the inside while the exterior looks fine, others have cracks and are inhabitable.

Photo: Sahina Shrestha

Photo: Sahina Shrestha

Bhai Kaji Shrestha (pic, right) looks at the heap of debris where his two and a half storey house once stood. “It is completely gone and nearly took my wife with it,” her says. Shrestha’s wife Bhakti Maya was buried under the rubble while trying to get out of the house. After hours of relentless digging Bhai Kaji along with few others pulled her out. Bhakti Maya complains of severe ache in her body but was fortunate enough not to incur any broken bones.

Sitting in front of the few things they managed to salvage from the wreckage, Bhakti Maya worries how they will live on from now, “We are old, we don’t own any other land and what we have is gone. There is no way we can rebuild the house soon,” she says.

Bhakti Maya Shrestha sits in front of her belongings salvaged from her collapsed house. Photo: Sahina Shrestha

Bhakti Maya Shrestha sits in front of her belongings salvaged from her collapsed house. Photo: Sahina Shrestha

The family is living in a makeshift structure constructed from the materials they retrieved from the old house. Living with them in the cramped space are Bhai Kaji’s brothers Janak Lal and Gopi Lal’s families. Janak Lal too lost his house which was right next to Bhai Kaji’s while Gopi Lal’s has sustained cracks. “It looks fine from the outside,” says Gopi Lal pointing at his house, “but it is impossible to go inside.”

For now the extended family is living on the potatoes and little rice from the farm but seem unsure how long that will last. “There is no one coming in to help us but what else can we do but wait,” says Bhai Kaji.

Further down the village, Astha Maya Shrestha folds laundry in front of a tent rented from a party palace. There are cracks in her house and the two other adjoining houses. “We can’t live there anymore and moreover if one of the houses fall, the others go with it,” says Astha Maya. “We have nowhere else to go but to live in this tent,” she adds.

Keshari Rajbhandari took loans to build a concrete house. “But the house has many cracks on the inside walls. I don’t know if the house will stand and I still have to pay off the loan,” says Rajbhandari, who shares the tent with Astha Maya and twenty-five other individuals. For now Rajbhandari says not everyone in the village requires help with food but “there are some who need it.” She further adds that many in the village require help with shelter.

According to locals, very little aid has come their way. “We don’t expect much because we know there are others in other places who require more assistance,” says Rajbhandari. “But there are some in this village who could use some help too,” she adds.

Sahina Shrestha

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2 Responses to “Cast aside and forgotten”

  1. Swapnil Uprety on Says:

    And our government is doing nothing no action no reaction

  2. Rajesh Manandhar on Says:

    Nala is not much affected bt villages surrounding nala in the hills are affected much and help is needed in those places rather.

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