People in Kathmandu moving back to houses

People in Kathmandu moving back to houses

KATHMANDU - Most people in Kathmandu have moved back into their houses six days after a deadly earthquake rattled the country taking at least 7,000 lives and displacing millions.

People say they are feeling safe now to shift into their houses as no major quakes have been felt in the past last three days.

However, thousands others whose houses have been completely damaged are still living in tents, vehicles and even under the open sky, while some are still reluctant to move into their homes fearing another quake.

On Thursday, the situation turned so worse that hundreds of thousands of people came out to the streets and open spaces in desperation after rumour went around that another major earthquake will hit the country.

"The past week has been the hardest days of our lives. It is also becoming risky to live outside in tents due to health concerns. Many are feeling sick," said Goma Shrestha of Kalanki.

Occasional rainfall, coupled with poor food and sanitation in tents, has exposed people to diseases. Hospitals in Kathmandu have also witnessed a surge in the number of patients with flu-like symptoms.

Gurung and many of her relatives were staying under plastic tents for four nights.

They had to live with little food and water as no relief assistance came from the government and other organisations.

It has been difficult especially for children to live in tents.

The Post's visit to various places in the Valley found significant reduction in the number of people living in tents. Many locals are consulting engineers before moving back to their houses.

Khagendra Bhurtel, a senior civil engineer, said several people consulted him in the past few days. "It would be wise to take opinion of experts if there are structural cracks in the house.

There is no need to consult anyone if there are no such defects. People can live inside their house without fear if no structural defects are seen," he said.

Bhurtel said people should use common sense rather than running after rumours such as those found in social media and online portals. "It is much safer to stay indoors instead of running outside during tremors.

Everyone should play a constructive role to free people from fear," he said.

Meanwhile, nearly a million people living temporarily in the Capital have returned to their villages. The government had mobilised hundreds of vehicles to ferry people to various places outside the Valley free of cost.

"Many people are leaving the Valley on their own initiatives. The number of such people is increasing day by day as they want to be useful in their villages and be with their family members," said Laxmi Dhakal, spokesperson at the Home Ministry.

Many people whose houses have partially cracked are still unwilling to move into their house. Prabiti Magar of Siraha, who sells tea in Thamel, said she still doesn't want to go back to her rented room.

"The house is made of mud and bricks and there are several cracks in it," she said.

The earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale has killed over 6,000 people, destroyed hundreds of thousands of house and killed similar number of livestock.

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