Shelters for tornado victims

Editorial

The entire country has now sunk in grief after the devastation of villages in Bara and Parsa districts. A windstorm, caused by funnel cloud, killed more than 27 people and injured over 400. It left a trail of death and destruction, prompting the federal and provincial governments to spring into action for the timely rescue operation and distribution of relief materials in the affected areas. The people from the different walks of life have demonstrated solidarity to address the plight of the storm victims. In a moment of crisis, different political parties, social and business organisations, charity groups and the local community have lent their helping hand to provide medical treatment to the injured and relief to the families torn apart by the killing tempest.

Province 2 government decided to provide Rs. 300,000 to each family that lost their members in the disaster. However, efforts need to be doubled to provide tarpaulins, foods, medicines, construction materials and other basic facilities to the victims. As media reports go by, a large number of victims have been left high and dry. Some of them spent night under the open sky. It is imperative that both federal and Province 2 governments should join hands to launch residence programme for the affected population so that they are not left out in the cold. The concerned authorities should see to it that there are not irregularities in the distribution of the relief materials.

It is encouraging to note that the tornado-hit people of Bara and Parsa districts are going to have their houses rebuilt before monsoon this year. The Federal Government has adopted the policy of providing safe houses for the people, who had been directly affected by the disaster. The government has entrusted the Nepali Army with an important responsibility of constructing houses for the disaster victims taking their plight into serious consideration. As per the government’s decision, the NA is going to build a total of 1,453 houses for the tornado victims, who have been left homeless and leading a difficult life.

The central Cabinet meeting held on April 23 endorsed a decision to release Rs. 846.8 million to the NA for constructing the houses for the victims. The government has made necessary arrangements for initiating the process of constructing the houses soon. The federal government said that the houses would be constructed under Janata Awas scheme. However, the houses to be built for the tornado victims will be bigger than the ones prescribed under Janata Awas. The houses would be built as per the survey conducted by the government units. Majority of the houses will be constructed in Bara district. The natural disaster had hit Pheta Rural Municipality of Bara district hard.

About 80 per cent of houses located in Ward No. 6 of that local unit had been destroyed. The construction cost of one house will stand at Rs. 545,000, including the value added tax. Each of the houses will have three rooms, including a kitchen, along with a toilet facility. The two rooms will be more spacious than the kitchen.

The initiative to rebuild houses for the disaster victims through the NA is commendable. As a reputed and responsible organisation, the NA is expected to carry out the crucial task in time. The unfortunate incident had taken place due to lack of an early disaster warning system. In the absence of such an instrument, even the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology had remained clueless about the disaster. The country needs to apply latest technologies available so that weather related disasters can be forecast in advance.

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