Expedite Quake Relief


Nepalis have once again been haunted by an earthquake, reviving the painful memory of Gorkha quake eight years ago.  An earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale rattled Jajarkot and Rukum (West) Friday night, killing at least 157 people and injuring over 256.  Epicentred at Ramidanda, Barekot Rural Municipality–1 of Jajarkot, the temblor hit almost at midnight (11.47 pm) and caused the loss of lives and properties beyond imagination. The people had fallen into deep sleep and could not rush to safer places. The infants, adult and the senior citizens died in the disaster. The quake destroyed private houses and monuments worth tens of millions of rupees. It was not considered big quake but it knocked down almost all houses made of mud and stones. The timing and weak structures are blamed for the increasing number of deaths. According to the latest report, over 105 were killed and 102 injured in Jajarkot while 52 died and 78 were wounded in Rukum West.

Rolpa, Dolpa, Mugu, Surkhet, Salyan and Pyuthan are the districts where scores of people have sustained injuries. The number of casualties is likely to climb as the details from different parts of two districts are stills pouring in. As the report of devastation of the quake came to notice, the government immediately mobilised the medical and security teams to conduct rescue and relief operations in the affected places. The specialist doctors and medicines from Nepalgunj, Surkhet and Kathmandu were dispatched.  The Nepal Army and the Armed Police Force teams also reached Rukum (West) and Jajarkot with their medical staff. As the health facilities of two districts ran out of capacity, the injured were airlifted to Kathmandu, Surkhet and Nepalgunj. More than 1,500 security personnel have been mobilised in the rescue and relief operations.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda himself reached the earthquake-hit districts with medical teams and essential materials to direct and intensify rescue, search and relief operations for the quake survivors. He visited Jajarkot District Hospital and municipal hospital and assured that the victims the government would provide free treatment to the injured individuals. The Prime Minister requested the locals to put up their concerns and demands so as to boost their morale in the time of catastrophe. On Sunday while addressing a meeting of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management National Council in Kathmandu, the PM instructed the concerned bodies to carry out the relief and rehabilitation works in the two districts with necessary preparations. The government has taken measures to make the service delivery smooth and effective in the affected places. 

The government has announced to provide Jajarkot and Rukum  (West) Rs. 50 million each and  send  food,  tents,  tarpaulins,  blankets,  mattresses,  sleeping  bags  and  other  items  of  primary support to the districts through one-door system. Various provinces have also promised support in cash and kind to the quake victims. Organisations, neghbours, friendly nations and international community are also planning to send relief materials to the victims. It is the responsibility of the central, provincial and local governments to work in close coordination to recuse and treat the injured and provide relief materials to those in dire need of shelters, food, clothes, medicines and other basic goods. Focus should be also on the rehabilitation of the victims in view of approaching winter season. Experts say that west Nepal is highly prone to great earthquake so precautionary steps and preparedness should be in priority to save the lives from the potential aftershocks and new earthquakes.  

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