Incident Reports

Rautes reeling under food crisis


Sudurpashchim, Achham, Panchadewal Binayak

Bajura, Raute haru khaddha sankat ko marka ma. BAJURA: Rautes, a nomadic ethnic community of Nepal, living in the jungles of Kaledanda VDC in Accham are reeling under acute food crisis. A few days ago, a group of Rautes led by their Mukhiya (chieftain) Bir Bahadur Raute had reached Mangalsen, the district headquarters of Accham, to seek help to address the problems they are facing. According to Bir Bahadur, as many as 240 Raute families were struggling for survival. “I have come with some members from our community to seek help,” he said. “We would collect some food items and clothes among others from Mangalsen, Kamal Bazaar, Sanphe, Bayalpata and Binayak.” Rautes rarely make their appearances in the modern society and spent most of their lifetimes in the jungles where they are known for hunting langur and macaque monkeys for subsistence. Forest tubers, wild fruits and greens are other stuff on which they survive. Once in a while, they venture to human settlements to barter handmade wooden bowls and boxes they make for grain, iron and clothes. Our handmade wooden bowls and boxes do not have the market now and in addition we do not make many of them as authorities have imposed a ban on felling trees, said Daya Bahadur Shahi, who accompanied his chieftain to the district headquarters. We are forced to sleep hungry as we do not have enough to eat these days, he added. “We are forced to made do on wild roots and monkey meat among others. Tubers and wild fruits are also vanishing from the jungles.” Surendra Shahi, another member of the group, said they would also wish to collect some warm clothes for the winter. “Children are falling sick due to biting cold in the jungles,” he said, adding that they are treating the children with medicinal herbs found in the jungle. Rautes, however, never sell other forest products, including the medicinal herbs. Locals said the Rautes were running from pillar to post — government to non-government oraganisations — asking for money, food and clothes. Chieftain Bir Bahadur said Rautes would die if nothing was done immediately to save them. The government had earlier provided some Raute people with the job of guarding forests. There is no exact figure for the population of the ethnic nomadic community, but report says it is on the decline.


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