One year on, Nepal remembers earthquake victims

Three days of national mourning are underway in Nepal, to mark the first anniversary of deadly earthquakes that killed nearly 9,000 people.

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More than 20,000 people were injured when the two quakes struck the south-eastern Asian nation.

Solemn services have been held across the country to mark the event.

But some survivors are expressing anger at what they say is a lack of government support in the wake of the disaster.

At four minutes to noon on April 24, 2015, the first and most powerful of two earthquakes struck – destroying homes, monuments and lives.

Eight million people in total were affected by the devastation.

One year on at ceremonies across Nepal, people paused to remember.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari travelled to the remote northern village of Barpak – the epicentre of the quake.

There she prayed with residents, and helped lay the foundation for a memorial park.

In the capital Kathmandu, which was among the areas hardest hit by the earthquakes, nine thousand candles were lit – one for each of the people killed.

But alongside the sadness, there’s also frustration.

Protesters clashed with police on the streets of Kathmandu, angered by what some regard as government inaction in the 12 months since the disaster.

Protester Bishnu Dahalsays says the government has failed its people.

(Translated)”For the sake of our rights and to pressurise the government to take action we are protesting.”

Nepal’s government is yet to begin an official reconstruction program, and it’s estimated that three million people are still without permanent shelter.

Purba Namjel Tamang, from the village of Langtang which was almost completely flattened in the second quake, is one of them.

He, his wife and their young son live in a shack beside the remnants of their home.

(Translated)”Nobody’s helping us in the process of building or reconstructing our homes. The government told us they will give us money to help but we’ve been waiting so long, what’s going on?”

Aid agencies say that most of the five billion dollars in international aid donated for reconstruction remains unspent because of political squabbling.

NGO worker Surya Bahadur Pariyar says the delays are inexcusable.

“I don’t believe in the government also, because since one year if we compare in every earthquake victim area most of the people get most of the contribution, any contribution – like food, like tents, like zinc for making the roof also – they will get it from some Nepali organisations, some religious societies as well and some international organisations also. But I think when we met with some victims they told us very little has come if we compare to some national and international organisations.”