Nepal earthquakes: one year on
It is a year since the first 2015 earthquake hit Nepal. What is life like in the country now and what difference has your generous giving made?
“Everything has been devastated by the earthquake and everything is unsettled.”
When the first earthquake shook Nepal on 25 April 2015, everything changed for Bir Bhada Dimdung and his family. Not only was his home destroyed but his neighbours’ houses were too. Almost all of the houses in the Sankhu area of Lalitpur District where he lives were either destroyed or badly damaged.
Bir Bhada (below) and his family are still living in a temporary house 12 months on. But thanks to the generous giving of BMS World Mission supporters, when it is possible for him to, he will be able to not only build his own house but help build others too. He has now received stonemason training to enable him to build homes to withstand future earthquakes.
“Before the training I had no idea about what sort of house was earthquake-resistant and I would have just used stones,” Bir Bhada says. “Now I have ideas for earthquake-resistant houses.”
The skills he has learned mean that he can be paid more for the work he does, increasing the opportunities for him and his family.
“My hope for the future is to build a better shelter for my family and to provide higher education for my son,” he says. “My son gives me a new hope.”
Sita Maya Ghising (below) lives in the same district and her home was destroyed too. Thanks to BMS, she has received training in livestock management, dairy production and growing vegetables. The training is giving her ideas of a new, more hopeful future.
“I want to have a strong family and be a role model so that change can be seen in me,” Sita Maya says. “I am not so well educated, so I want to establish a big farm and get registered. I started with milk after the earthquake and want to grow my farm and dairy produce business.”
Bir Bhada and Sita Maya are just two of the people whose lives have been transformed by the £540,000 you gave to the BMS Nepal earthquake appeal. In the first few weeks after the disaster, over £50,000 provided:
• food relief
• medical supplies
• a vehicle for distributing relief and helping with long-term recovery efforts
• training for those responding to the earthquake
The majority of the money raised is going towards the second phase of rehabilitation, which should take about three years. During that time we will be contributing to the transformation of over 54,000 people by supporting education and health programmes, enabling livelihood training like that given to Bir Bhada and Sita Maya, and providing materials and support for the construction of hundreds of new earthquake-resistant homes for those currently living in temporary shelters or severely damaged homes. With your help, we are also helping to train people to prepare better for future earthquakes.
BMS mission worker Jerry Clewett, who initially directed the disaster response for one of our partners in Nepal, says that the response from BMS in the first few days and weeks following the earthquakes was vital in enabling them to be able to help 12,000 people in seven severely affected communites.
“The pledges of money from BMS and other partners were absolutely crucial,” he says.
“All of the support has had a fantastic impact, both in a tangible way by enabling work to be done, and in an encouraging way – knowing that people care outside Nepal.”
Since the first earthquake 12 months ago, there have been over 400 aftershocks. BMS mission worker Ruth Clewett says they have grown used to them but they still put them on edge.
“Paradoxically, part of you is a bit blasé,” she says. “When there is an aftershock, you shrug it off. At the same time we’re a bit hyper – if someone knocks into the back of your chair, you jump.”
With recent earthquakes in Ecuador, Japan and Afghanistan, some believe there might be another earthquake in Nepal soon. “There is a lot of superstition and fear here,” says BMS worker Debbie Drew.
Fellow mission worker Jenny Saunders has heard similar superstitions. “Some are predicting a big earthquake on the anniversary and some will be sleeping outside just in case,” Jenny says.
Despite the fear, many good things have come out of the response to the earthquakes. A community spirit to look out for each other has grown, with many taking helping the needy into their own hands.
“I can see signs of hope,” says Jerry Clewett. “There is a lot of goodwill from people, particularly from the more wealthy people in Kathmandu and especially the younger people. I think there is a growing civil awareness and willingness to support others who are less well-off in the villages. Providing that positivity continues, there will be a lot of hope for the future.”
It will take years for Nepal to fully recover from last year’s earthquakes, and BMS is committed to helping in that process through recovery work, our mission worker presence and prayer. Please continue to pray for Nepal and especially for good leadership there.
“Pray that God will raise up people who will be truly concerned about the needs of the poorest and worst-hit people,” suggests BMS worker Andy Saunders. “Pray that God will raise up leaders in all areas of society, who have a real heart for the country.”
The work we are doing to help earthquake survivors would not have been possible without your generous support. Thank you.
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission.