Rebuilding after the earthquake

By Pritha Khanal

The massive tremor of 7.8 magnitude that hit Nepal on the 25th of April affected almost 30 districts. Several aftershocks especially one on 29th May of 7.1 magnitude aggravated the devastation. The worst-hit districts include Sindhupalchowk, Gorkha, Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Dhading, Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Rammechap, Kavre, Dolakha, and Dhading. They suffered double the number of injuries caused by the earthquake. More than 9,000 people were killed across the country.

Houses, schools and cultural heritages were damaged. The UN estimates that eight million people, nearly a third of the population, were affected. At least two million people need tents, water, food and medicines.

Houses, schools and cultural heritages were damaged. The UN estimates that eight million people, nearly a third of the population, were affected. At least two million people need  tents, water, food and medicines.

Landslides are occurring due to the instability of the soil after the earthquake. Over 3,000 landslides were observed after the 25 April earthquake, higher than the number reported in the past five years combined. Scientists warn that many hilly areas and highways are now more prone to landslides. According to a tribune.com report, a landslide at Kaski at the end of June killed more than 30 people. A landslide at Pokhara killed 35 people. More than 2,000 people have been affected by landslides. The landslides have also made it difficult to reach victims in need of relief support.

The natural disasters have brought along series of social problems. The rate of women and child trafficking, sex trade, robbery and theft has increased. Women getting raped inside the tarpaulins were reported in many places. Cases of identity loss were an alarming issue during initial months. Many people had to move after being made homeless but having no citizenship papers or any other kind of proof of residence made it difficult for them to get support.

Global response to devastation

Nepal received world wide support for rescue, relief and rehabilitation. India, Korea, China, Pakistan, US, Russia and many other nations provided support immediately after the disaster. There was a high sense of patriotism among the youth during the upheaval. Various organizations and groups provided  immediate and long term support. More than US$40 billion of foreign aid was collected in the Prime Minister’s Fund.

ICA Nepal carried out various relief and rehabilitation work as well. First was a blood donation programme. Then food packages were distributed in various  districts such as Dhading, Sindhupalchowk, Gorkha, Bhaktapur and Kavre. ICA Nepal and Rotaract clubs carried out community works. Food packages and  medicines, clothes and tarpaulins were distributed to the victims on a community and individual level. ICA Nepal also provided support to various organizations working for people with disabilities.

ICA Nepal along with international volunteers initiated the construction of permanent houses using Earthbag technology. It also conducted a series of programmes for various communities and institutions on how to provide psycho-emotional support.

Our plans include rehabilitation programs. ICA Nepal, with the support of ICA Australia and ICA Japan, plans to build permanent houses in Changunaryan and Sindhupalchowk districts for earthquake victims and those with disabilities.

Although the earthquake devastated the nation there is resilience, courage and hope. There is a strong will power among the people to rebuild the nation and ICA Nepal has a role to play in this.

Pritha Khanal (pritha_khanal@yahoo.com) is a program officer at ICA Nepal responsible for documentation and media related matters.

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