The victims of Tuesday’s inferno at Goldhap Bhutanese refugee camp have sought priority in the third country resettlement programme.

The fire victims demanded the authorities prioritise them for the resettlement programme besides providing immediate relief. “Sooner or later we have to be resettled. We prefer this to staying in camps after re-erecting the huts,” Tilak Niraula, a teacher at Goldhap camp, said. The devastating fire gutted more than 700 huts in the camp, leaving nearly 4,000 refugees homeless. The victims have been putting up in makeshift tents set up in the area.

Chiranjibi Rai, secretary of the camp management committee, said work had started to set up tents after clearing the debris. Police and the refugees were cleaning the remnants of the huts on Wednesday. He demanded the fire victims be prioritised in the resettlement programme on humanitarian ground. Fifteen refugees are leaving the camp for a third country on Friday but their documents were destroyed in the blaze. Rai said it had been difficult to look after the victims. “Their situation is worsening in the lack of safe drinking water, foodstuffs and toilets,” he added. Organisations including the Red Cross and Caritas distributed foodstuffs, tents, blankets and kitchenware to the victims. The local administration also provided Rs 1,500 to each victimised family as immediate relief.

Meanwhile, Caritas has provided for 76 SLC candidates in the camp so that they can attend the examinations that start on Thursday. They are kept in Deoniya.

Source: The Kathmandu Post – 23.03.2011