Nepal Earthquake Disaster

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UPDATE 9: Nepal 2016

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UPDATE 8: Nepal – three months on (4 August 2015)

Nepal monsoon

Makeshift houses of plastic sheets and tarpaulins are the only protection against the rain for many people.
Photo: LWF/ Lucia de Vries
 

The arrival of monsoon used to be a happy moment for the Nepalese, as it marked the planting of rice on water-fed fields and terraces.

 After the 25 April earthquake however, the rainy season mostly brings fear and discomfort for the estimated 2.5 million people still living in temporary shelters. The need for more durable shelter solutions has become a priority.

The monsoon season brings added challenges to the aid work. More than 3,000 landslides were triggered by the earthquake, many villages remain inaccessible, and aid transport get stuck in the mud on the unpaved mountain passes.

“The emergency work has entered into the early recovery phase. We have begun to construct temporary shelters with zinc sheets and local building materials,” says Ram Sharan Sedhai, communications officer of our ALWS partner, Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Nepal.

“The people have gradually recovered from the horror.

They have started planting crops and taking care of livestock.

For many, life is returning to normality.”

However, this is not the case for many people in the districts worst affected by the earthquake.

“In Gorkha, Sindhupalchok, Dolakha and Rasuwa districts, many people are still living without proper settlements and under tarpaulin sheets,” he says. “Luckily there have been no outbreaks of communicable diseases.”

Unfolding disaster

The 2015 monsoon has been termed as  ‘an unfolding disaster’ by the Nepali government and aid organizations alike.

The government is coming up with a relocation plan for the people at risk but reaching out to scattered groups of displaced people is not an easy task.

In the densely populated temporary housing sites, the risk of epidemic waterborne disease outbreaks such as cholera is high. Apart from setting up water tanks and emergency toilets and showers, LWF staff together with the Nepal ACT Alliance Forum members hand out hygiene kits with water purification tablets, soap and sanitary towels for women.

LWF Nepal is providing transitional shelter materials to the community of Indreni, “It’s a race against time to provide the communities with zinc sheets and other relief materials needed to stay safe and healthy during monsoon.” Dr Prabin Manandhar, Country Director of the LWF Nepal says.

Giving back hope

In the three months since the earthquake, LWF has used support from countries like Australia and New Zealand through ALWS to give aid to more than 21,000 households in Nepal. 

Our help has supported providing them with food, tarpaulins, mattresses, blankets, hygiene kits and water buckets with water purifiers. LWF will help them rebuild their homes.

As part of the emergency response, LWF Nepal has also implemented community-based psychosocial support. Working with and through community leaders, it aims to strengthen the resilience of the people and villages, improve their coping mechanisms and take care of their psychosocial wellbeing.

LWF has mobilized and strengthened existing networks and social organizations in communities impacted by the earthquake.  It plans to reach about 14,000 people with this special kind of care. Ideally, the networks will become sustainable structures and continue to improve life for people in difficult positions long after other projects have ended.

"I never thought I would remain alive. Although my house is broken down, my desire to live life has not been broken," Rama Devi Shresta says, while looking at her daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. None of her relatives were injured in the earthquake. To her, that is the most important thing.

In the immediate response to the 2015 earthquake, LWF Nepal with the support of ACT Alliance members supported over 110,000 families with emergency relief. The organization is committed to help families in five affected districts to rebuild their lives through food security, shelter, water and sanitation and psychological assistance, and link this with long-term development. 

Together, as an ALWS family, we have now raised $1,063,920 (5 Aug 2015) to help survivors of the quake. Thank you!

Source: LWF News - Written by By Cornelia Kästner and Lucia de Vries


Be inspired by four of the LWF team delivering your aid. See Update 7 below!

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UPDATE 7: Friday 5 June 2015

More than family

Six weeks after the devastating earthquake in Nepal, the ALWS family has donated more than $850,000 to support our Lutheran World Federation team bring emergency aid to survivors.

The LWF team was in action within hours of the quake happening, and in the first week provided life-saving relief aid to more than 3000 families.

Despite enormous challenges, personal danger and four team members having their own houses completely destroyed, the team has now distributed relief goods to 13,718 households in 27 towns and villages. Our focus is the six districts of Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Sindhupalchowk, Rasuwa and Dolakha.

The disaster has created a strong bond among the LWF Nepal team. “We are more than family now,” says one of the team members.

You can meet four members of the team delivering your aid in the stories below, written by Lucia de Vries of the LWF Nepal team. You’ll be humbled and inspired that through ALWS you are part of a team making such a powerful impact on people’s lives. Photos from LWD

 

“You will not die today.”
- Magar’s story

The relief work of our Lutheran World Federation team is not without danger.

Anita Rana Magar, a driver with LWF Nepal, experienced this first hand during a recent trip to Sindhupalchowk district, one of the worst affected districts east of Kathmandu. The convoy with relief goods was stopped by an angry mob who wanted to loot the material.

“They threatened to overthrow the car and attack us,” recounts Magar. She quickly removed her LWF jacket and retorted: “These goods are for our friends in the next village. You cannot confiscate private goods.”

The villagers retreated and the team stayed the night at a secure army camp.

The next day Magar faced an even greater challenge. During a strong aftershock rocks started tumbling down from the hills above the camp.

 “I was very scared. ‘We are going to die,’ I shouted. The army captain comforted me and said, ‘You will not die today’.”

The landslides caved in on the army camp on both sides. There was no other choice but to leave the car behind and walk back to safety. During the long trek Magar injured her foot. She cried when the team reached the road head, where another LWF car was waiting for them.

Magar’s husband works abroad in Malaysia, which is why the young driver has to manage things on her own. But by now she has regained her confidence.

“After what happened to me in Sindhupalchowk I feel every other job is easy. Nothing really compares to that dreadful experience.”

From church to tent
- Sunwar’s story

Amrit Sunwar, Finance Assistant and one of LWF Nepal’s eldest staff, was at a church service when the building started moving.

“I remembered the lessons from an earthquake training and told the people to stay calm and leave the building only after the quake was over.”

The service continued outside, in an open field.

What Sunwar did not know then was that his home in Ramechap district, in eastern Nepal, had collapsed. Luckily his 80-year old parents were out working in the fields and escaped unscathed.

The day after the earthquake, Sunwar paid a quick visit to his parents to help them build a temporary shelter. He then organized a tent for his wife and son in Kathmandu, as none of them felt safe to sleep in the rented room on the fourth floor. The next day he was back at work.

“Providing relief is one of LWF’s main jobs. This is the time when we can truly contribute to the needy.”

Although they are happy to be helping others, the team is unable to forget their worries completely. Sunwar is concerned about his elderly parents:

“Every morning I ask myself: How did they spend the night? What do they eat today?”

 

Feeding the 100
-
Maharjan’s story

LWF Kitchen helper Bishnu Maya Maharjan was busy washing clothes at her brother’s house when the earthquake struck.

“It was a terrifying experience. I saw how my sister-in-law fell down holding my sixteen-month-old baby but I could not get to them. Only when the shaking stopped could I get to them. They were both ok.

“After that all I could do was cry.”

Maharjan had a narrow escape. Her own house, a traditional Newar home in the heart of Patan, Kathmandu district, collapsed.

“Because we lack water in the old house I do the laundry at my brothers’ place on Saturdays. That saved us.”

Maharjan and her family now live in a tent along the Patan Ring Road. They have brought out the gas stove and utensils and cook out in the open. Although her brother’s house only sustained a few cracks none of the relatives dare to return to the place.

Despite these difficult circumstances, Maharjan was at the office again few days after the earthquake, cooking midday meals for up to 100 people. She calls her husband three times a day to check on the baby

While her workload has doubled with the influx of hundreds of volunteers, new staff and visitors, Maharjan does not mind:

“Being here with my friends helps me to relax.”

Bibles' new beginning
- Kharel’s story

Human resource officer Nisha Kharel was visiting her home district Chitwan on the fateful day of the quake.

The quake had little impact there. Because she could not get hold of her family in Kathmandu, Kharel decided to drive back the next day.

“When I entered Kathmandu Valley I started to cry. So much destruction. It slowly dawned on me that this was a big disaster.”

Luckily her 70-year old mother survived the quake without a scratch. However, the apartment Kharel had just bought in a high rise building was heavily damaged. She was too scared to enter her apartment to retrieve her clothes.

Kharel and her mother moved in with distant relatives, and slept on the floor with 40 to 50 other people for a week.

Yet, she sprang into action and helped LWF Nepal hire 18 new staff and recruit hundreds of volunteers. She says:

“For the first time in my life I felt I knew what it means to be a refugee.”

Kharel, a single parent, nowadays stays with her sister and has collected some essentials from her apartment.

“Half of the time I still can’t believe what has happened. My mother bought this expensive flat for me, which now is basically uninhabitable. A huge investment has gone. However, I learn from the Bible that there are new beginnings. We hope against hope.”

 



 

Here’s how hope happens – stories from survivors.

UPDATE 6: Monday 25 May 2015

The Lutheran World Federation team you support through ALWS has worked with the people of Lalitpur for eight years.

The trust built by that work means your help now can be efficient and effective – and help survivors build on the hope growing from the most unlikely places.

BUFFALO BRINGS BLESSING

Rardlika Sanggel Mahat shared how her buffalo was buried under her house.

“We only saw a hoof and a piece of rope. So we started digging and pulling, and managed to get it out alive. It was bucking with fear, and we had a really hard time tying it up. All of my family helped.”

Radrlika had bought the buffalo through a local loan scheme, set up by the Lutheran team. The milk the buffalo produced provided income for Rardlika’s family. Thankfully it still can.

EMERGENCY ACTION

  • The assessment team to Dolkha reports 90% Households destroyed
  • Aid has now reached 10,302 households and 16,219 individuals:
  • Ready-to-Eat food
  • Tarpaulins and plastic sheets
  • 15 day WASH Kits (Water and Sanitation, Hygiene)
  • 31 most remote villages reached on Kathmandu Valley, Sindhupalchowk and Rasuwa
  • Suspected cholera outbreak in Sindhupalchowk – WASH engineer sent in
  • LWF team met with Government authorities re agriculture, and opportunities for paddy seeds and vegetable seeds

GREENHOUSE BECOMES FAMILY HOUSE

In the village of Dhusel, 300 out of 338 houses were completely destroyed. Four people died. Maili Pakhrin told our team about the moment the quake struck:

 “It was noon, I was in the kitchen. Suddenly the kitchen started sinking. I was petrified. I didn’t know what it was. Then I started running. When I came down the stairs, I saw the houses shaking from side to side. I heard the kitchen collapse, and saw how every house in this street broke down.

“Everything I had was in this house. Even most of my food is buried here. Neighbours helped me dig out some of my clothes, but they are torn.”

Maili now stays with her brother’s family in a shelter made of plastic sheets from a greenhouse.

Greenhouses are another project started earlier by the Lutheran team you support in Nepal. (The ‘tunnel greenhouses’ speed up and increase the harvest of crops like tomatoes.)

READY TO REBUILD

While the focus for our Lutheran team right now is providing blankets, tarpaulins and food, the community is already looking at how they can rebuild their houses.

LWF Team Leader, Nibha Shresta, says,

 “Instead of just tarpaulins, we thought of giving people tin sheets. When the monsoon starts in a few weeks, tarpaulins are not enough. With tin sheets they can build provisional houses until their housing is re-built.”

The people of Dhusel have already started to organise themselves.

Neighbours help each other rescue personal belongings from the ruins. Men patrol at night to prevent children stealing items from the debris.

Across the village, hammering is heard as people construct shelter of debris wood. “I have shelter, so I am helping my brother build some for his family,” one man, Manbahadur says, sitting perched on a skeleton of wooden frames.

HOPE TAKES HOLD

This kind of working together, the support people like you give, the little ‘miracles’ that emerge from disaster – this is how hope happens.

Together, as an ALWS family, we have now raised $672,967 (25 May 2015) to help survivors of the quake. Thank you!



 

 

UPDATE 5: Friday 15 May 2015

New quake - Lutheran Rapid Assessment Team dispatched

The second Nepal earthquake has caused an increase in landslides in many areas of the affected districts. Dolakha is a new district most badly affected by this quake, while two other districts, Rasuwa and Sidhupalchowk, have been further affected.

According to preliminary information received, the quake also affected the Kathmandu valley, causing the collapse of already partially damaged buildings, including government buildings. The estimated number of collapsed buildings is as yet unknown.

Our Lutheran World Federation team in Nepal will send an assessment team to Dolakha district and the other two most affected districts, Rasuwa and Sidhupalchowk, to do rapid assessments to identify the level of damage and emergency needs.

The rapid assessment will also include an assessment of the education sector, given the importance of getting children back to school to help them overcome their trauma.

Meanwhile, the original Rasuwa Lutheran assessment team has arrived back safely. The original Sindhupalchowk team is stuck at Baramche, but all staff remain safe in one of the army camps. Attempts are being made to transport them back to Kathmandu as soon as possible.

 

UPDATE 4: Wednesday 13 May 2015

New quake – but your care arrives…

A new earthquake struck Nepal on Tuesday 12 May. It registered 7.3, and early reports say at least 65 people are dead, and more than 2000 injured.

This comes two weeks after the 7.8 quake that has left more than 8,000 people dead and 17,800 injured.

Our Lutheran World Federation team in Nepal is well-positioned to assess the needs from this latest quake. Meanwhile our help has already reached 7,000 households (around 40,000 people) in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Rasuwa and Sindhupalchowk.

422 households in Rasuwa have received Emergency Shelter Kits.

Helping those who had already lost everything

One of the areas our Lutheran team is focused on is Gorkha, close to the epicentre of the quake, and where the damage is worst.

In the community of Chanapani, our Rapid Assessment Team has identified more than 80% of the houses here have been damaged. In some cases houses have been reduced to dust.

Chanapani is a Dalit community, which in the old caste system was the lowest caste. While the caste system has been officially abolished, it can still operate in the most remote areas. It leaves the Dalit people in extreme poverty and vulnerability, relying on daily labour to earn an income.

After the earthquake, nobody has any money to spare, so nobody is hiring daily labourers.

The Dalit people in Chanapani, already suffering the worst of poverty, now suffer even more. Their only toilet is 10 minutes’ walk away. Three or four families are sharing one tarpaulin sheet as shelter, and families have only two glasses of rice per day.

Your help provides hope even here

With monsoon rains about to start, shelter is a critical need in these worst-hit communities. When secure temporary shelter is provided, the huge task of reconstruction can begin.

Through our Lutheran team in Gorkha, you can help provide water, sanitation and hygiene, along with food assistance. Psychosocial support ensures that people affected by the disaster receive care that protects and improves their mental health and well-being. DONATE NOW

Helping people help themselves

What’s inspiring is the way survivors are working hard to help themselves.

A member of the Lutheran Rapid Assessment Team to Gorkha, reports: “They are not just waiting for aid to come. They are organising themselves. Neighbours help each other. Relatives support those who have lost their homes.

The community at Chanapani is even looking at using shared labour as a way of reconstructing their village, while volunteers help those too scared to go into homes to salvage their belongings.

Thank you!

As of Wednesday 13 May, the ALWS family has donated more than $300,000 to help survivors of the Nepal earthquake disaster. Thank you!

 

 

UPDATE 3: Monday 4 May

Your help will be delivered to families in greatest danger by a Lutheran World Federation team operating in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Sindupalchowk, Dhading, Lamjung, Kabre and Gorkha Districts.

You will be part of a campaign by churches of many denominations from around the world, working together as ACT Alliance. Working side by side our aim is to help 125,000 people.

Lutheran Emergency Action!

UPDATE 2: Wednesday 29 APRIL 2015

Confirmed death toll is now more than 5,000 people, with 6,500 injured. The Nepal Prime Minister, Sushil Koirala, fears the death toll could reach more than 10,000 people.

Lutheran Action

  • The Lutheran (World Federation – LWF) team was immediately in action 5 hours following the major quake
  • we thank God all partner staff are accounted for
  • our prayers are for one staff member who tragically lost their sister
  • LWF is already providing relief in the form of food packets (Ready-To-Eat) and Non-Food Items including kitchen utensils, tarps, clothes and water
  • 500 families already reached
  • while there are substantial needs, LWF has significant capacity to respond - as LWF has been working in Nepal for many years and has 35 staff in Kathmandu alone
  • the ACTalliance Nepal Forum has convened twice since the emergency at the LWF offices which are operational (in an area of Kathmandu not badly hit)
  • LWF is putting up tents in its grounds to put up colleagues who are arriving in Kathmandu to help
  • LWF will be working with its partners in Kathmandu and the surrounding areas to the west of the capital. There are good supply lines from India.
  • LWF have partners in the more remote affected areas. Important to make contact with them, but not possible yet.
  • Soon will set up infrastructure in the countryside.
  • Sectors of work identified as critical include:

-       WATSAN (water and sanitation)

-       Shelter

-       Protection

-       Psychosocial

-       Food

-       Non-Food Items

-       In-kind and cash-based interventions (vendors are back and the economic life is returning)

This information drawn from minutes of emergency meeting of ACT Alliance Nepal Forum.


 


UPDATE: 27 APRIL 2015

The worst earthquake in Nepal in 80 years has left more than 2,500 people dead. Many more are injured, missing or homeless.

You can give emergency help straightaway through our Lutheran (World Federation) team based in Kathmandu.

LUTHERAN ACTION

Through ALWS, you support a Lutheran (World Federation - LWF) team based in Kathmandu. The team manages 14 projects across Nepal, including in the worst-hit areas of Pokhara, Lamjung and Bhaktapur.

The Lutheran team also manages an Emergency Response Hub.

This on-the-ground presence means your urgent donation can go to work straightaway to help save lives.

HIGH PRIORITY NEEDS

First reports from the front line identify our help is likely to be urgently needed for:

  • food
  • water
  • clothes
  • blankets
  • shelter
  • medical supplies
  • psychosocial support

As rescue teams penetrate deeper into the disaster, they will highlight the most pressing priorities and any changing needs.The Emergency Response Hub is equipped to play a vital role in helping direct your donation where it is needed most.

THE DISASTER

The earthquake struck 80 kilometres north west of Kathmandu on Saturday 25 April at 3.56pm Australian EST. It registered 7.8 on the Richter scale - the largest earthquake in Nepal in 80 years.

It hit a densely populated region where 2.5 million people live. Many buildings here are of poor construction, so the damage is overwhelming.

Hospitals are overcrowded, and injured people are being treated in the street. People are scared to go inside in case of aftershocks. Many are now homeless.

LUTHERAN WORK IN NEPAL

The Lutheran family has worked in Nepal since 1984. Before this earthquake disaster, 384,020 people had help through LWF.

In 2014, supported by the Australian Government, our Australian Lutheran family provided $507,993 in help to some of the poorest people in Nepal. A key action is Disaster Risk Preparedness - a real life-saver now! DISCOVER MORE


Important: Your donation will provide emergency care to victims of the Nepal Earthquake. Your help will be channelled through ACT Alliance and our Lutheran (World Federation - LWF) team based in Kathmandu. Should ALWS receive income beyond what is needed in this project, those funds will be used to support ALWS’ current work in the Nepal Development Program, which includes Disaster Risk Reduction. Funds and other resources designated for the purpose of aid and development will be used only for those purposes and will not be used to promote a particular religious adherence or to support a political party, or to promote a candidate or organisation affiliated to a particular party. For more information, call: 1300 763 407

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