A Nepalese man tightens the binding on his tarpaulin roof in a camp for people displaced by earthquakes in April and May.
Western Nepal was rocked by a 5.5-magnitude earthquake early yesterday, reviving fears from a devastating quake in April that killed nearly 9,000 people.
No casualties were reported initially, but the still-fresh memories of hundreds of quakes and aftershocks this year haunted some.
“It was around 4am when people were sleeping. Many went out and waited in the cold because they feared there would be an aftershock,” said Dhan Prasad Sharma Poudel, chief district officer of Bajura district, by phone.
“The epicentre is a day’s walk from the district headquarters so we’ve dispatched a police team to check if there are casualties.”
Several other districts in the western part of the country felt the quake.
The April 25 quake and a second 6.9-magnitude quake on May 12 left thousands of people homeless. Many are still huddling in temporary sheds, as the harsh Himalayan winter sets in.
The government last week began distributing money for winter clothes to those affected by April’s earthquake amid victims’ demands for more consistent support from authorities.
Displaced families are eligible to receive 10,000 rupees ($100) to go towards buying warm apparel.
“It’s good to get this money, because my children are cold. But it would be better if the government prepared to help with reconstruction so that we have proper homes to live in,” said Gita Shrestha, an earthquake survivor from Bhaktapur district.
A bill that would establish a national reconstruction authority has been passed in parliament due to political wrangling.
According to the UN, 2.8mn people in Nepal were displaced by the two earthquakes.
Many of the displaced have yet to receive the financial aid promised to them from a relief fund, with the disbursements held up by procedural hassles and red tape, even as the temperatures plummet in the