26 June - 2 July 2015 #764

Move us

Phurpa Tamang in Himal Khabarpatrika, 21-27 June

LOST ALL: Asha Tamang, 50, of Mailung escaped miraculously but lost his wife, son, daughter-in-law, and nine other relatives when a rockfall buried his house.

Santaram Tamang had toiled for ten years in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia and built a house in Chipleti of Rasuwa with his hard-earned savings. Tamang was near his village when the earthquake struck on 25 April and his eyes tear up as he recounts how his house and the entire village was buried in a huge rockslide. It was impossible to rescue his nine neighbours. His house is buried under the mountain. Today, Tamang lives in a tent in the grounds of the Trisuli 3A Project in Shantibazar of Nuwakot, and he has only one request from the government: relocate our village. “Our village was always at risk from landslide, and three years ago we had lobbied with district politicians and the CDO,” Tamang said. “No one listened to us, and now this happened.”

Govinda Bahadur Thapa is a Nepal Army guard and barely escaped with his life after huge boulders started falling on the project site. One soldier was killed in front of him, and he gave the orders to the others to cross the Bhote Kosi to the other side, where they stayed for four days while rocks fell all around. They were finally rescued when a helicopter spotted them. Thapa’s team is now involved in demolishing and rebuilding homes in Thulogaun. Many dozens of people working on the highway in Mailung were buried by rockfalls, and their bodies haven’t been found.

Life in the shelter at Shantibazar is chaotic. Villager from the mountains find it unbearably hot here in the lowland. The children have no school to go to and just play in the dirt. There is rice, but no vegetables to eat it with because no one can afford it.

There were 17 people in Asha Tamang’s house when the earthquake struck. They heard the landslide before the rocks started falling, it sounded like a big storm approaching. In an instant, the rocks buried the house and Asha lost his wife, son and daughter-in-law and nine other relatives. Asha barely survived, his head wound has been stitched up and has two broken ribs.

Sanumaya Tamang of Karumrang had gone to gather fodder in the forest when the quake struck. Her brother and sister-in-law were buried by a rockfall. She is now taking care of her four-year-old nephew and eight-month-old niece who have been orphaned. “They keep asking about their parents, where will I find them?” asked Sanumaya.

Subi Tamang of Gogane was also in the forest on the slope above the village, and was buried by a rockfall. Her husband Kaman has brought their eight-year-old daughter Karma Dolma, two-year-old Nur Maya and one-year-old son Anurag to a shelter in Betrawati.

The biggest fear of the displaced here is that landlsides will wipe out what remains of their villages during the monsoon. The question is where will the survivors live?

Read also:

Mission far from accomplished, Richard Ragan

Langtang is gone, Sahina Shrestha

Langtang lament

Soon, the monsoon, Editorial

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