Relief and Recovery for earthquake affected families
A 7.9 richter scale earthquake hit Nepal on Saturday, the 25th of April 2015, which shook the entire country and left with massive destruction in human casualties and physical property, leaving people in unforgettable pain and tears. Thousands of old houses and temples have completely been destroyed.
Many more houses were damaged rendering thousands more homeless and without shelter. They have lost their homes, their belongings and most importantly, their families. The continuous aftershocks are shaking people’s confidence. Even the people who have their houses safe stayed outside their homes under the plastic sheets as there had been continuous strong aftershocks, and nobody dared to go inside. It is estimated that about 40 percent of the population is affected by this disaster in different parts of the country.
Three districts of Kathmandu Valley - Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur are among the worst hit cities of the capital. Most of the World Heritage Site located in Kathmandu valley is badly affected. The temples, monument of historic importance and the heritage were collapsed. More than 80 per cent of the houses in the historic old settlements in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur are collapsed making the people homeless.
Since after the earthquake on 25th April, Lumanti Support Group for Shelter, in coordination with local government and in partnership with local women cooperatives, community groups and CBOs, is supporting for the implementation of earthquake relief activities in different old settlements in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. Apart from its support within the Kathmandu Valley, Lumanti has also extended its earthquake relief program in some VDCs in Dolakha, Kavre, Dhading and Rasuwa in coordination with District Disaster Relief Committees chaired by the Local Development Officer in the respective district.
Working with Community Groups
As Lumanti had been working with the women's saving and credit cooperatives in most of the affected old settlements in the valley, contacted its networks and mobilized women's group for quick assessment of the situation and relief distribution. Since these cooperatives were also engaged in small scale infrastructure and housing improvement activities in the communities before the earthquake, they could quickly get into action using rational approaches to provide relief support. Many of the women members were themselves have been rendered homeless in the earthquake. However, they have shown great resilience and have come forward to support the families in need.
Team from Lumanti also visited those communities in the valley and supported the cooperatives in its network to start the assessment and map the situation on the ground. The quick assessment was made in coordination with the local government. The quick immediate assessment taken in those settlements showed: a great demand for tarpaulins, small cash support for medicines and special needs of women and children, and support for food. Together with Lumanti, the groups in Thaiba, Machhegoan, Sanogoan, Thankot, Khokhona, Thecho, Tokha, Panga, Gokarna, Bhaktapur, Core areas in Patan and Kathmandu successfully got engaged in relief and recovery support. Lumanti had provided some financial support to the vulnerable earthquake affected families through the women cooperatives in the communities. As of the community demand, the management of women cooperatives distributed food materials. In addition, Lumanti also provided tarpaulins, chlorine tablets and liquid for water purification and WASH kits to the vulnerable families. Initially Lumanti collected some amount of fund from its friends from Nepal and abroad for immediate action to support quake survivors. Lumanti also received some relief materials like tarpaulins, solar lights, WASH kits etc from international partners and handed it over to its network for distribution.
Temporary Shelters for earthquake affected families
Tarpaulins and tents were distributed by the government, international and national organizations as emergency shelters to the affected families. But tarps and tents did not last long and it's very difficult to live under the tarps for a long period of time. The demand for the temporary shelters was very. Thus, Lumanti took an initiation to provide support to build temporary shelters in the affected communities through community based organizations and Disaster Management Committee formed in coordination with local government. The community based organization and the local Disaster Management Committees in consultation with the affected families and other local partners agreed on some criteria for the selection of the vulnerable families to give the top most priority to shift in the temporary shelters. The agreed criteria are as follows:
a. Extremely poor families who had lost their homes and belongings
b. Women headed families and families who have lost their family members in the EQ
c. A large family with many children, pregnant women or with babies.
d. Families with old people and people with illness.
Lumanti focused its support in some poor communities of Kathmandu valley and in selected VDCs in Dhading and Rasuwa.
For the construction of temporary shelters in Kathmandu Valley, Lumanti mobilized the volunteer architects from Pro-poor Technical Assistance Group (PTAG). PTAG is the informal group of community architect promoted by Lumanti. The members of the PTAG visited the affected cities in Kathmandu valley and provided technical support for the construction of temporary shelters. The youth from the affected communities, women and local mason joined hands together to build the temporary shelters in the communities. The temporary shelters constructed in the communities are built from locally available bamboos or plywood with GI roof depending upon the community needs and availability.
In Rasuwa and Dhading, Lumanti has established its branch office to provide support for the earthquake affected families in the targeted communities. Lumanti in coordination with District Disaster Reduction Committee and respective VDCs, provided CGI sheets to the affected families. Lumanti team in Rasuwa and Dhading provided technical trainings to the local mason for the construction of the temporary shelters. Total of nearly 6000 temporary shelters were constructed mobilizing internal and external fund that Lumanti has received from various funding partners, individual donors and well-wishers.