New Settlement, New Beginnings

It was extremely hot. Sweat was dripping down from Nima’s face, landing on the hard dirt beneath. Thick early-monsoon clouds started forming on the horizon. However, extreme temperatures notwithstanding, Nima was still able to start constructing his new house in Bhedichaur, Sindhupalchok. With the support of one another, Nima’s community was about to finish construction of 20 houses in their new settlement. The 2015 earthquake destroyed everything they had in Simple Kavre, their old settlement. They had built temporary shelters on a nearby hill, using tarps and any local materials they could find, but the looming threat of landslides made it too dangerous to stay there. “Together with the geologists from the DS II project, we did a geo-survey and they said that our land is not safe and that we need to move to other areas”, says Nima Tsering Lama, the displaced community’s chairperson.

“We were worried about searching for new land and the procedures related to that. We had been living in this place for years and now we lost everything. The DS II project helped us get the required documents, visit NRA offices and speed up all the procedures,” he explains.

One of the main objectives of DS II project is to link the earthquake/affected communities with a Land Surveyor for land markation of new lands, prepare the required documents for receiving land grants and housing grants in National Reconstruction Authority office and speed up the procedures in Land Registration Office to get new land ownership certificates.

“All twenty families from Simple Kavre received both the land and housing grant to build new houses in a safer location. Our children can go to a nearby school, which is 10-15 minutes away by walk. Now, we also have access to health facilities, which were quite difficult to come by in our old settlement,” adds Nima. “There is no water source in this new settlement, so we are facing some difficulties finishing construction of our houses. We have submitted our land papers and other required documents to the rural municipality to get access to a local water supply, as well as to get connected to the electricity grid, and are hoping to receive an answer soon.”

“Although we are on safe land now, we are worried about our livelihood opportunities. Most of us were dependent on agriculture and now we do not have land for farming. Some 10-12 families continue to do their farming in the old settlement but are worried about landslide risks. We have to start everything over again in the new place,” says Nima Tsering Lama with a grim on his face.

Nima’s family is now ready to start anew, but challenges remain.

Author: Sajana Shrestha/People in Need

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