Of the 39 people killed in the landslide in Taplejung two weeks ago, the bodies of 16 have still not been found. The bodies that were retrieved were buried nearby since villagers couldn’t take them down to the river for cremation because of the landslide. The air is still putrid with the smell of rotting bodies. Hundreds of cattle were also buried by the landslide. The whole village is silent, there are no sounds of children playing or families getting ready to plant fields. There is only the sound of hungry livestock, left unattended. Even where houses are intact, people are not taking chances.
The terrace farms that were being readied for paddy plantation have turned into grey slopes of mud. The villagers of Liwang were self-sufficient and content, overnight they became destitute and have nothing to eat.
Buddhiman Limbu of Liwang lost his son and daughter-in-law and their bodies have not been found. His house and fields are gone. He has two other sons, two daughters and a wife, but they are all homeless and are camping out in a neighbour’s land.
Bhadra Lal Giri lost his wife and son in the landslide. Their bodies have also not been found. A total of 376 houses were destroyed or damaged in the massive landslide triggered by a cloudburst on the night of 10 June. Some 200 houses are at high risk. More than 700 people have been displaced.