Relief denied landslide victims left in lurch

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SINDHUPALCHOWK , APR 23 – Due to the failure of the government to come up with a relief and compensation package for the victims of the landslide in Jure even eight months after the disaster, the fast approaching rainy season has once again put the victims at the risk of being forced to relive the terrible nightmare.

While some of the victims and their families have gone either to Tatopani market or the Capital in search of work in order to make a living, four families displaced by the landslide have returned to their homes that still remain partially submerged in the artificial lake created by the Jure landslides blocking the Sunkoshi river.

In this way, many victims of the Jure landslide are compelled to risk their lives after failing to garner help or assistance from anywhere. The lake is presumed to be 15-20 metres deep, with water levels rising every day due to the pre-monsoon rains.

Meanwhile, Rs 22 million collected in the name of Jure Landslide Relief Fund at the local level (individuals and local organisations donated generously for the cause)  to provide succour to the victims of the catastrophic landslide has been sitting idle at the District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC).

The Committee has been unable to utilise the funds to provide relief and compensation to the landslide victims and rehabilitate them as the Ministry of Home Affairs has not given its permission yet.

Stating that they have been unable to get permission from the Ministry of Home for immediate distribution of the funds despite repeated attempts, Chief District officer Krishna Prasad Gyawali assured that the funds will reach the victims on time so that they are duly compensated and rehabilitated before the onset of

monsoon.

Immediately after the disaster that struck Jure village on August 2, 2014 , the government had procured 100 sacks of rice for distribution among families directly affected by the disaster and provided compensation of Rs 100,000 to families who were rendered homeless. An additional Rs 40,000 was also provided for performing the final rites of those who had lost their lives in the disaster.

Likewise, the relocation and rehabilitation of Jure landslide victims,  as assured by Minister for Urban Development Narayan Khadka who had reached the site 18 days after the incident, is yet to be started.

Meanwhile, the DDMC has been requesting the government to allow it to relocate the landslide victims to the land belonging to a Magnesite Industry, which has remained out of operation for many decades. “However, no concrete decision has been taken in regard to the matter,” CDO Gyawali said.