Nepal earthquake 2 years on: rebuilding lives, fostering hope

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, 24 April 2017 - On 25 April 2015, a massive earthquake in Ghorka, Nepal, followed by another devastating one on 12 May, killed nearly 9,000 people and injured over 21,000. More than 600,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Medair's emergency team arrived within 48 hours and distributed shelter kits to 10,135 families. Since then, Medair has supported thousands of other Nepalese through various shelter projects, alongside Integral Alliance partner Mission East.

Yet many survivors in remote areas are still living in temporary shelters at high altitudes with another rainy season rapidly approaching.

In early 2016, Medair and local implementation partner CDS (Community Development Society) implemented a programme to assist all households in two of the most vulnerable wards of Ramechhap, one of the most affected and remote districts of Nepal, to build earthquake-resistant houses that include toilet facilities. Through a three-instalment grant of USD 500, 1,500 and 1,000 (a total of USD 3000), 310 families can buy the materials and hire Medair-trained masons to build earthquake-resilient houses.

As of today, 39 of the planned 310 houses have been completed and 210 are currently being built. To receive the first instalment of the grant, homeowners need to choose and get approval for one of the house plans designed and approved by the government. The second instalment is granted once the foundation is built, and the third one when the house is completed up to the level of the seismic roof band needed to finish the roofing.

“It is sad to see that many people still live under the remains of what used to be their home, or even in their animal sheds,” said Willem van Amerongen, Medair's country director. “But the project we are working on together with the community and our partners is allowing men and women to take ownership of their lives and work together to rebuild a safer Nepal, bringing closure to many affected families."

Over the next two years, another 1,000 families will receive technical support to continue their recovery from the earthquake.