Women survivors in Karve District share their plight
A massive earthquake on 25 April with an intensity of 7.9 destroyed nearly 39 districts in Nepal. Karve District, 55 km southeast of Kathmandu is in absolute shambles, forcing 200 displaced families to seek temporary shelter in tents. Amidst all the chaos that followed this catastrophe, the lives of the Nepali women were deeply affected as their men folk were working in other countries to help sustain their family income. Their bleak hopes were now extinguished and survival only torpedoed additional problems. These women survivors along with their families have been living in temporary shelters and tents for 16 days following the earthquake. Our contact in Nepal, Renu Sharma has been speaking to the aggrieved women survivors.
This is what they have to say. “It’s been difficult - no one was here to help us earlier. There is no one with the strength to salvage our possessions from the collapsed houses because our men and young people are away working in other countries to earn money, which is a common reality for many Nepali families. Most of us are coping with this precarious situation on our own.
It is becoming extremely difficult for small children and old people to live in temporary shelters. These tents are extremely crowded at night since three families have to share one tent due to a shortage. The weather at this time of year is hot and humid with sudden fierce thunderstorms. Tents can't protect us from the deluge of rain, and so all our clothes and food are wet. We can’t sleep at night because the rains wet our beds and blankets too. The conditions are becoming miserable. Without a proper bed and enough food, most of us are falling sick especially the children and elderly, who are suffering from coughs, asthma attacks and stomach cramps.
Our farm animals who survived the earthquake are now wandering around without any shelter and are bringing mosquitoes and flies to the camping area. We are worried because the newly born animals are falling sick and dying, leaving us with the hard task of burying them.
Farming is the main source of income for us. We had taken micro loans to buy more livestock and farming equipment. Now we have lost our animals, equipment, and buildings – we are afraid that our loans cannot be repaid. Moreover, it is harvesting time and the devastation caused by the earthquake has shut down many small shops making it difficult for us to sell our produce."
People are extremely worried about their future and are unable to accept reality. Even while this discussion with these women was taking place, a severe aftershock shook the ground. A large number of these people were pulled out of collapsed buildings or survived indoors when the earthquake hit. They are still suffering and remain traumatised from the event. Continuous tremors add to their misery and stress.