24-30 July 2015 #768

Leaving shelter

Around 850 people who had been living in Tundikhel after the earthquake are now moving out of the military parade ground

GOPEN RAI

Lila KC sheltered in Tundikhel’s tented camp in the centre of Kathmandu after the house in which he had rented a flat for his family tilted precariously following the 25 April earthquake.

The 56-old-year father of two children could not even take out all his belongings from the rented flat in Asan. He spent nearly three months with his family in a tent set up by Chinese Red Cross in Tundikhel.

“It was like our home,” he said, while packing his stuff and loading it in a jeep before leaving Tundikhel on Friday. “But we now have to move.”

Like KC, around 850 people who had been living in Tundikhel after the earthquake are now moving out of the military parade ground (pictured). After consultation with the Kathmandu District Administration Office, the Nepal Army had asked them to leave Tundikhel by 17 July. But some are still there not finding anywhere to go.

Kathmandu CDO Ek Narayan Aryal says they decided to evacuate Tundikhel after finding out that most of the people living there are not real earthquake survivors. Aryal says they were mostly squatters, vendors and earthquake survivors from outside Kathmandu.

But people like Aryal who were genuinely displaced by the earthquake are once more without shelter.

“We are moving to my wife’s house for a few days,” says KC. “But I will have to find a rented house as soon as possible.” As the earthquake had damaged more than 100,000 houses in Kathmandu where finding rooms on rent was already difficult, KC is afraid it might take him months to find a safe place for his family.

Sarswoti Thapa, a 40-year-old street vendor, also left Tundikhel on Friday.  For the first few weeks after the earthquake, she slept on the premises of Sankata temple but was forced out of there after the 12 May aftershock. She had been living in Tundikhel since then.

“I knew I would not be allowed to live here forever,” she said, packing her clothes and kitchen utensils. “But I could not find other safer place.”

Left with no option, Thapa decided to go back to her own rented room in the earthquake-damaged house.  Although Friday is the deadline to leave Tundikhel, some will remain here for a few more days. But they now have to move wherever they find a safe place.

Read also:

Houses down, rents up, Sahina Shrestha

A concrete future, Sonia Awale

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