Report by Rajan Khatiwoda (28.05.2015) | Project: Sindupalchok/Dolakha

An Overview of the Condition in Sindupalchok/Dolakha

Among the districts affected due to number of earthquakes that started from 25th April 2015, Sindupalchok has suffered the most in terms of both casualty and damages to property. The three major earthquakes (two major and one aftershock of 6.7 magnitude) that hit Sindupalchok destroyed a large number of houses (63,885 severely damaged and 2751 moderately damaged) leaving the majority of population homeless.

Relief works are being carried out by many organizations and individuals. A number of organizations have been working to provide food, health care and shelter to the traumatized people of Sindupalchok. However, the aid and relief materials have reached only to the lower, i.e. the southern part of the district. The northern part that consists a number of remote villages (including Baruwa, Gotche, Bhotang and Gumba of Sindhupalchok and Lapilang, Bigu, Khopachagu of Dolakha) have not received proper help. Even though large quantities of relief materials are being sent from the capital, they are mostly piled up in the lower villages. The people from capital have been dropping off the relief materials only in the easily reachable areas of the district. According to the locals, the supplies in southern villages are enough for them to sustain for more than six months. The inaccessibility of the northern part has caused hesitance among the agencies and individuals to supply the relief goods. So, immediate attention towards the need of the northern population is very important.

Need of shelter

After the devastating earthquakes and the aftershocks, people of Sindhupalchok and Dolakha district are having a hard time managing proper shelter for themselves. Tents were supplied in large numbers to the district. But the recent storms have destroyed many of those too. Proper shelter is the foremost need of the people at the moment. The southern villages are easily accessible and they will be provided with tents and shelter-houses by many organizations and individuals soon. So, the emphasis should be on providing proper shelter to the people of remote northern parts of Sindupalchok and Dolakha The locals of Baruwa, Gotche, Lapilang, Khopachagu etc. who have come in contact have expressed their anguish over the lack of places to live. They are lacking even the basic kind of tents and are exposed to the elements. Monsoon is approaching soon and it is impossible to finish constructing and repairing the houses before it begins. The people, without safe shelters to protect them from rain and wind, will be exposed to the high risk of illness. Therefore, the construction of durable shelters that can last at least a few months would be a huge contribution in restoring and saving the lives of the people.

Tasks accomplished so far

Upon my arrival in Kathmandu, I struggled to find the construction materials for the temporary houses. The scarcity of pewter sheets and the second major earthquake delayed my work for a few days. At last, I was able to send twenty-five bundles of pewter sheets and ten kilograms of construction metal to Baruwa, a large northern village in Sindupalchok. I was helped in the transportation and distribution by five locals from Baruwa who came in contact with me. Those pewter sheets will be enough to make twenty-five temporary houses, a certain help for the disaster struck people of Baruwa village.

Work plan

The twenty-five bundles of pewter sheets have proved to be very useful to the locals to construct temporary houses. The construction of as many temporary houses as possible is vital at this time. I have been in contact with an active volunteer of Rotaract from Kathmandu University who has been working to construct similar temporary houses in villages nearby the Kathmandu Valley. He has formed a team of undergraduate students who have been ardently working to prepare the temporary shelters for the affected people. I will be coordinating with them as they will supply and provide all relief materials and efforts directly to the victims and not to any agency or organization. They have been constructing low budget temporary houses that can be made within a few days. They could achieve this with the help of locals. Having young and enthusiastic volunteers work will ensure a good result, and it will avoid any administrative cost. Weekly reports will be sent to me by the mentioned volunteers. All the related details and photographs of work in progress will also be included in the report.

Rajan Khatiwoda, Kathmandu, May 27, 2015