Barpak , a small village situated in the northern part of Gorkha district, was the epicentre of the Nepal’s second biggest earthquake on record, the April 25 quake.
Undoubtedly, as an epicentre, the Barpak VDC was hardest hit. Namely, the VDC Ward Number 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Of total 1,272 houses in this village, 1,069 were reduced to rubble by the 7.6-magnitude quake.
The notorious quake has already claimed the life of 72 persons, mainly children and the elderly, in the locality while 130 have sustained injuries. Two persons who lost their life after being covered by the landslide following the quake are still left to be (dug out).
The quake-hit Barpak dwellers, who are still struggling to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of the quake, are relentlessly waiting for the adequate relief materials .
Although, this quake-ravaged village is reported to have seen the presence of many government and non-government agencies for the distribution of the relief materials , locals consider it as ‘too little too late’.
Let us take a stock of what the locals here have to say. Bhagyaman Ghale, from Torongtol in Barpak -8 is one of the lucky survivors to his name ‘Bhagyaman’ (lucky).
Every morning he sets out for Baluwa Bazar in Simjung VDC with traditional bamboo and reed baskets (thunse and doko) with high hopes of bringing home some aid. But returns back with despair (empty-handed). Actually, he does not have a house anymore as his house was also battered by the quake.
“With every sound of the helicopter punctuating the air in Gorkha, I become hopeful that I can avail relief materials adequately,” shared Ghale who says that he has only received two kilogramme of rice flakes so far.
He vented out his angst against the promises made by the political leaders for distributing relief materials . According to him, the real victims of the quake have not received a single help although those with access to power corridors have got relief materials twice, sometimes even thrice.
Echoing with Ghale, Dil Bahadur Ghale from Barpak -7 shared that he had not received any relief materials yet although the helicopters keep coming to Gorkha. “We have been surviving eating wheat, maize, millet and other left over crops extracting mud mixed in it,” informed this elderly.
Locals here argue that they are in dire need of food items – better it is if it were high in nutritional value – than shelter. Take for instance, a mother figure Dhan Kumari Ghale from Goche-3 in Barpark. Her immediate need is (nutritious) food for her children.
“My constant worry is how to feed my children a good two square meals at such times as the biscuit and the rice flakes received as relief materials are not enough to kill their hunger,” grieved Ghale.
Similarly, another local Prakash Gurung from Damaitol in Barpak -7 cast a gloomy tone, “What a cruelty of time! Now, neither do I have kin, nor property. On top of this, there’s another pain of not receiving any materials at such times.”
Krishna Bahadur Gurung of Barpak -8 stated that the relief materials running short in supply in Barpark was due to the incident of looting on the way. He informed that the relief materials sent to Barpak are looted on the way.
Since the roads in Simjung VDC were blocked due to the landslide, locals here travel through a difficult terrain to reach Barpak VDC, 50 kilometres to the north from Gorkha Bazar, in hope of getting some aid.
The quake, apart from damages to the person and physical infrastructures, has also caused damage to the local resources. Two local rivers have also dried up, according to the locals who opine that it will take some 50 years to bring Barpak back to its earlier shape.
Not only Barpak , the quake-hit persons residing in its adjacent VDCs as Simjung, Saurpani and Lapark are also awaiting relief materials . (Sushil Darnal’s report for RSS)