Earthquake strikes Western Nepal

(MENAFN) In the aftermath of the devastating 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck Western Nepal's Jagarkot district on November 3, 2023, a grim reality has emerged as survivors now confront the harsh challenges of extreme cold and deadly diseases. Karne Kami, a 70-year-old resident of Barekot, was fortunate to escape his collapsing house during the quake but tragically succumbed to pneumonia within weeks, a consequence of living under a makeshift plastic tent.

The plight is not isolated, as Kamala Mahatra, another 70-year-old quake survivor from Barekot, faced a similar fate. Suffering from asthma and reliant on medication, her health deteriorated significantly after her house crumbled. Despite attempts to secure medical treatment, the onset of winter and continued seismic activity only intensified the struggles faced by many in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Barekot, the epicenter of the earthquake, initially reported no casualties, according to Bir Bahadur Giree, chair of the Barekot Rural Municipality. However, for those who lost their homes and were forced to endure the Himalayan winter in makeshift tents, a new peril emerged.

Tragically, Barekot witnessed 26 deaths due to exposure to the biting cold among quake survivors. The vulnerability was particularly pronounced among those over 60, grappling with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, cancer, and chronic diseases – 18 of the 26 deceased fell into this age group. Similar challenges were reported in other municipalities affected by the earthquake.

As Nepal's earthquake survivors navigate the dual threats of freezing temperatures and the resurgence of diseases in the wake of the disaster, urgent attention is needed to address the vulnerabilities of the elderly population and those with underlying health conditions. The unfolding tragedy underscores the pressing need for comprehensive relief efforts and sustainable solutions to protect vulnerable communities from the unforgiving aftermath of natural disasters.


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