Earthquake survivors’ struggles are piling on with the falling snow, while tourists revel in Helambu’s seemingly idyllic winter.
Snowing since Monday afternoon, the dump did not herald joy for many residents of Helambu Rural Municipality-1, in Sindhupalchok district.
The flimsy huts they have lived in since the 2015 earthquake were useless in the cold of winter. As one of the areas worst hit by the quake and its aftershocks, thousands of people—including the elderly and children—moved into temporary housing.
“Whenever it snows we have the same ordeal. How can we keep ourselves warm and fall asleep when snow blankets the area?” said Lhakpa Dolma Hyolmo, 61, attempting to warm herself on a bonfire.
Her family has lived in the shelter since the April 25 quake, so has endured the cold many times before. Despite hopes of shifting her family into a new home by winter, construction had barely started. It was the same case for other families. Other high-altitude areas, such as Liping Gaun, Listikot, Golchi, Phulpingkatti and Jugal, were also blanketed with snow.
Around 100 households in nearby Milarepa suffered the same fate.
“The Himalayas wouldn’t exist if it didn’t snow. But when it snows, we have to suffer,” said Tashi Dongba Hyolmo, a local resident.
“The renovation of Tahonsa Sang Finchok Urgen Chyoling Gumba was started with an aim to finish it by mid-March. We were going to perform a special Chheju puja, but the snowfall halts any renovation work,” he said.
The Gumba was one of many reconstruction projects halted by the weather. It would also delay residents’ housing reconstruction, he said.
Kyabje Nawang Tenjin Rimpoche, despite adverse weather, laid a foundation stone for the reconstruction of another quake-ravaged Gumba at a function on Tuesday. Religious leaders and locals took the opportunity to voice their frustrations at the government’s lack of initiatives in rebuilding the area’s most important sites.