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Nepal earthquake destroyed a staggering number of homes
The remains of a computer room in Shree Narayani Higher Secondary School in Bhirkot, Dolakha district, after Nepal’s earthquake and aftershocks. Photo: Margaret Bee/Nepal/2015
I recently visited Nepal where Concern Worldwide is supporting the survivors of the earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April and subsequent aftershocks. Immediately after the earthquake, it was critical to respond quickly to the immediate needs of affected communities. Through local partners, we provided kits containing tarpaulins and other essential items to provide shelter for families who had lost their homes.
After meeting the most immediate needs, Concern and local partner Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN) wanted to engage communities to understand their needs. I went to Nepal to speak to those affected and to understand what they need to rebuild their lives. This is an important process because communities understand their own needs best and involving them means they have more ownership.
Villagers from Jhule in Dolakha district talking to staff from Concern and partner organisation RRN about what they need to rebuild. Photo: Margaret Bee/Nepal/2015
Each morning we travelled to different villages to meet with communities and listen to their views. In the villages we were working in, up to 95% of homes have been completely destroyed or have suffered significant damage making them unsafe to live in. I saw families camping near the piles of rubble that used to be their homes. School buildings and health centres have also been destroyed. I was in Nepal on June 1, when schools officially reopened, but lessons were taking place out of one or two tents or temporary structures (made from bamboo and tarpaulins) and these were not sufficient for the number of classes.
Students from the Shree Janaprabhat Secondary School in Jhule having a lesson in a temporary shelter. Photo: Margaret Bee/Nepal/2015
I was hugely impressed by the motivation and enthusiasm of the teachers, who had themselves lost their homes, but were keen to get the schools up and running again and to support children who had been traumatised by the earthquake. The same was true for health workers who were providing health services in tents set up next to the health centres that were destroyed by the earthquake.
Although no longer in the news headlines, let’s not forget the people of Nepal. The crisis is far from over and as monsoon season begins, people need support to build more durable shelters to withstand the rains.
Our priority is to ensure people survive the monsoon and we will then work to rebuild people’s lives and livelihoods. Donate to support those affected by the earthquake in Nepal.