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Straw mat, improved stoves provide relief from cold to quake victims

Posted 16 November, 10:56 am

SINDHUPALCHOWK, Nov 10 2015: Fifty years old Teka Maya Shrestha’s house was among the 500 homes in Irkhu VDC that turned into rubble within a few seconds of the earthquake on April 25.  Her family managed to build a one-room cottage for its nine members. But the cottage proved incapable of protecting them from cold.

Teka Maya’s 77 years old mother-in-law and her grand-child have not been able to sleep as dew drops seep into their cottage through cracks at night.  “The blankets and floor become wet as droplets seep through the zinc sheets at night,” says Teka Maya.

The earthquake victims have started to place straw mat under the tin roof after seeing some NGOs and INGOs distributing styroform to the more marginalized among the victims in the neighborhood. “As soon as we harvest the paddy from the field, we make straw mat for both floor and roof,” she said.

Styrofoam or even the straw mat can be used under the tin roof as it can soak the dew and prevent the cold, says District Local Development Officer Krishna Bahadur Shahi. He also said that the local authority has got no instruction to launch any kind of support program for the locals.

At a time when the government has not introduced any winterization plans targeting the earthquake victims, the effort to soak the dew on roof and the use of improved stove could work as a room warmer, says Engineer Padma Sundar Joshi, program manager at the UN Habitat.

“The locals can cope with the winter at a small cost of Rs 10,000 with the locally available resources such as styroform, straw mat and improved stoves,” said Joshi.

While his organization and others have brought solutions for the problems resulting from the winter chill for the most needful households in the district, others can face the problem through self-initiation, he said.

The stove costs around Rs 2,500 and has been designed to throw the smoke out of the house and help keep the room warm. More locals would choose the improvised stove over the traditional ones as they consume less timber, said Irkhu VDC Secretary Chuda Mani Parajuli.

Source: http://www.myrepublica.com/society/story/30966/straw-mat-improved-stoves-provide-relief-from-cold-to-quake-victims.html

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