This Article is From May 17, 2015

Deja Vu for Nepal: As Aftershocks Continue, People Return to Camps

Kathmandu: At Kathmandu's biggest relief camp at Tudikhel grounds, a hot wind has blown away one leg of Binda Gupta's tent. Her brother tries to fix it unsuccessfully.

She is still haunted by the tragedy that struck her family on April 25. As the iconic nine-storey Dharahara tower came down, so did her world. She lost her husband and nine-year-old daughter. "They both rushed out of the guest house we were in and got buried when the tower collapsed," she says in a feeble voice covering her mouth with her dupatta.

Binda is one of the thousands that have returned to the camp as a second quake struck and aftershocks continue. Her 22-year-old brother Saroj says, "We were here after the first earthquake, then we had left but had to come back. Now at least we have a tent, last time we did not have anything here."

From about 1,400 families that were left in the camp as things normalised, the number of people in the camp increased almost ten times to over 12,000 after the second earthquake. Colonel Paryog Jung Rana of the Nepal Army, in charge of the camp, says, "It is like going back to the same place but this time we are better prepared. We have the provisions. We have dry food supplies, a hot kitchen run by a Sikh organisation from London, water tankers, toilets, a hospital run by the Japanese. We could do with more tents."

The camp maybe running smoothly but the bigger worry is of an uncertain future. Binda's family says they can only go back if the government helps them rebuild their house.

Continued aftershocks has meant that reconstruction work which could have begun has not even taken off. Colonel Rana acknowledges that is a challenge. "We have to find a way of rebuilding homes because until then the camps will not shut down as people have nowhere to go," he says.