Quake-hit Nepalese protest shortage of relief items

By Anil Giri,

Kathmandu : Hundreds of Nepal quake-victims here protested against the government on Wednesday for its alleged failure to provide relief materials and demanded the resignation of Home Minister Bamdev Gautam.

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Hundreds of Nepalese protested in the heart of Kathmandu city on Wednesday afternoon, blaming the government for not being able to manage the distribution of aid after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake devastated the Himalayan nation on Saturday.

Scuffles broke out between the protestors and the police. Thousands of people carrying bags queued up at a number of places in Kathmandu. They feared another quake, or shortage of relief materials and a possible outbreak of an epidemic.

They demanded relief as well as transportation facilities to reach their homes. Thousands of people have been leaving Kathmandu daily seeking a safer option.

Elsewhere in the city, a mob at a bus park area ransacked the ticket counter after they could not get bus tickets to travel outside the capital.

Reports from areas beyond the city limits suggested that victims picketed the local administration offices.

In Dolakha district, victims picketed the administration and development offices seeking relief materials, food, and tents. They entered the offices and set ablaze chairs, table and curtains.

The government was unable to distribute materials in several districts even though huge amounts of domestic and international aid is pouring in Nepal.

About 40,000 quake-hit people in Dolakha district have been spending the nights under the open sky for four days, awaiting relief materials, mainly tents and medicines.

Of a total 55 houses in Lamidanda VDC in the district, 53 houses have been reduced to rubble. The two remaining ones are also in a dilapidated state.

More than 90 percent of the houses in rural settlements in the district have been reduced to debris, said Ananda Prasad Pokharel, Constituent Assembly member from Dolakha Constituency No.2.

Those living in tents following Saturday’s quake are at a risk of catching communicable diseases as the bad weather has further worsened their outdoor stay.