Although not a natural disaster in and of itself, Nepal’s decision to destroy a relief camp housing 2,000 people in bamboo and plastic huts certainly is tied to its mitigation efforts from an earthquake which devastated Nepal in 2015. The political move served as a final bid to force displaced people to return to their home villages and rebuild, as many of them still lie in ruins almost two years later.
The earthquake killed 9,000 people and claimed nearly one million homes. Over the past two years, reconstruction has moved at a snail’s pace, with Nepal’s government’s attention divided between recovery management and an ongoing political crisis. Police in riot gear stood outside of the bulldozed relief camp last Tuesday to contain the forcibly removed residents and eject them from the area, located in the nation’s capital.
This camp, among others, was meant to serve as a temporary shelter for the survivors of Nepal’s worst natural disaster in one hundred years. Government bureaucrats are encouraging poor, displaced people to take the government-provided relief money and to go rebuild on their own. The plan seems to openly ignore the country’s existing lack of infrastructure, organization, and attention to their most vulnerable populations. So far, 76,000 homes have been rebuilt, as government figures show, and 553,000 families have received $500 in aid. This contrasts with the government’s original figures two years ago, which determined that more than 600,000 families were hit by the quake, and each was entitled to $2,000 in aid.
Bimal Dulal, 52, a laborer and former resident of the bulldozed camp (Kathmandu) since the earthquake stated: “I don’t have any house of my own to rebuild and can’t find any room on rent to move from the camp.”