Shelter and water for earthquake victims in Nepal

by DCWC Community Hospital
Shelter and water for earthquake victims in Nepal
Shelter and water for earthquake victims in Nepal
Shelter and water for earthquake victims in Nepal
Shelter and water for earthquake victims in Nepal
Shelter and water for earthquake victims in Nepal
Shelter and water for earthquake victims in Nepal
Shelter and water for earthquake victims in Nepal
Shelter and water for earthquake victims in Nepal
Mar 21, 2016

The Process Of Recovery

New home for family in Nagre Gagarche
New home for family in Nagre Gagarche

The building of temporary shelters has been a lifesaver for so many Nepali villagers whose homes were demolished in last year's earthquakes.  Some still live in lean to’s or at the edge of unsafe damaged homes, with tarps for walls. These insecure, unhealthy environments can lead  to sickness , impoverishment, and despair. The devastation to the communities can’t be overstated. A dry environment, protected also from the wind and the elements provides a safe, secure haven to begin to recover, and people can then face other challenges. Here is the story of one village family as told by a member of our staff:

"This 47 year old woman is an inhabitant of Nagre Gagarche VDC-9, Duti. At April 25 she was working in the field and everything was moving and could not stand up and sat down with her husband Tul and children and in the next shake she was at home with her children and she says that she was so afraid and could not walk out because her children was sleeping upstairs and with a big fear she had brought her children outside then stones of wall was falling down. After that she stayed outside with tarpaulin tent given by DCWC but faced many trouble to stay in the tent. Now we could get materials for temporary shelter from DCWC and we did other works to build a temporary shelter. She said that it is very good now and warm in this winter otherwise would be very bad. Now she has forgotten her trouble before due to earthquake and normalizing their life with family."

To date 167 shelters have been completed and more are in the process of being constructed.    The  floor plan can be adapted to many materials. A simple rock and mud foundation wall, with embedded wood post and beam construction, provides the initial structure. The siding can then be wood, bamboo, plastic, or corrugated tin/iron.  Some timbers, rock, and some of the corrugated material can be salvaged from devastated old homes.  Most villagers have chosen these types of materials to implement the basic shelter floor plan.  Workshops were given to demonstrate construction techniques and expert guidance was given during the construction.   Similar to a ‘barn raising”,  groups in the community form to help build each others’ structures.  This coming together to build is helping to reignite a sense of community and belonging.

Lured by the promise of good jobs and high pay, many of the healthy young men have left the villages and their families to go to the Middle East.   In their attempt to support their families, the wife is left to care for the household, the children, the raising of some food, and the construction of shelter.  Many of the seed stores were destroyed during the quakes as well and most fields ended up lying fallow.  Parts of the water system were also damaged and made the water unfit for consumption.  A volunteer water expert from France  evaluated the situation and laid out a feasible plan for repair that is now being implemented. 

Permanent housing:  That is another story.  The government is attempting to set guidelines for safe construction, but how those will be implemented in remote villages is a big question.  International aid for reconstruction has yet to be released to the villages.  In Kavre people feel they cannot count on the government to help them.  It therefore is even more important  to continue building  “temporary“ structures for now. 

Much has been written in the press about government corruption,  the inept administration of aid to Nepal, and how little actually gets to the remote countryside.  Unfortunately much of it is correct. This is why it is so important to support vetted local Nepali NGO’s that are embedded in their communities and who know what needs to be done for whom. Funds raised from our “Earthquake Relief” fundraiser and generous grants from Global Giving made it possible for DCWC, our local Nepali NGO,  to start building shelters for people months ago. However, the need for more housing is huge, and until a plan can be created to implement long term housing, we will continue to create 'temporary homes' that allow families to return to some sense of comfort and normality.

We are grateful to all of you who have helped to support this devastated community.  

Interior of a 'temporary shelter'
Interior of a 'temporary shelter'
'Temporary shelter', opposite wall
'Temporary shelter', opposite wall
Woodsided temporary shelter
Woodsided temporary shelter
Village woman receiving stipend to buy door
Village woman receiving stipend to buy door


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Organization Information

DCWC Community Hospital

Location: Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal - Nepal
Project Leader:
Karin Reibel
Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal

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