| March 26, 2017
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Quake-hit Karaunja at risk from landslide also

Narahari Sapkota/Republica The Keraunja VDC in Gorkha district pictured last week lies in the vicinity of a massive landslide. About 500 homes in wards 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the VDC lie in the path of the landslide. Many of the locals are still living in sheds at the site of their quake-destroyed homes. Narahari Sapkota/Republica The Keraunja VDC in Gorkha district pictured last week lies in the vicinity of a massive landslide. About 500 homes in wards 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the VDC lie in the path of the landslide. Many of the locals are still living in sheds at the site of their quake-destroyed homes.
KERAUJA, Gorkha, April 12: Kami Gurung, 76, of Kerauja VDC in Gorkha district has a debt of Rs 200,000. Since last month, the interest on the loan has increased. Not only was his house destroyed by last year's earthquake, but his kitchen garden has also been swept away by landslide.

"For the first 10 months [after the quake], I lived in a makeshift tent erected on someone else's land. After the land owner started to protest, I put up a house on my own land with the help of a loan," he said.
Kami and his wife live by themselves in the house built at a location vulnerable to landslide.

"There is risk of landslide at any time," he told Republica, pointing to sites already hit by landslide.

Like Kami's house, around 500 houses in Kerauja VDC Wards No 1, 2, 3 and 4 have been built at spots vulnerable to landslide. The houses were already damaged by the earthquake last year.

The temporary shelters of more than 60 earthquake victims have already been swept away, said Suk Bahadur Gurung, a quake victim of Kerauja VDC-4.

"Landslides are still occurring here. It seems we are awaiting our deaths," he said. According to him, the landslide hazard has added to the plight of the quake-affected.

"Local victims have not only lost their houses, but landslide has swept away their arable land. Earthquake has already claimed many lives. Landslides this monsoon may claim more," he added.

After living under a tent for nine months, Phulmaya Ghale, another Kerauja local, also took out a loan of Rs 100,000 from three of her neighbors to built her own house. But she does not sleep in the house.

"I fear landslide. I do my cooking in the house but I sleep in the cowshed," she said. According to her, rocks still fall from the hills above.

With earthquake followed by landslide, locals from the entire village have been displaced. They have been left with nowhere to move to. Situated at an altitude of 2,300 meters in northern Gorkha, it takes two days to reach Kerauja from district headquarters.

"We have already shared our plight with the District Disaster Relief Committee (DDRC). But they have turned a deaf ear to our problem," said Surya Bahadur Gurung, another local.

The settlements at Kerauja have been at risk of landslide for years. Although the DDRC has already decided about relocating the settlements, the process has not moved ahead due to apathy on the part of local authorities. Consequently, the quake victims are forced to seek loans and rebuild their houses at sites known to be vulnerable to landslide.