Response To Devastating Earthquakes Evaluated By ShelterBox

Shelterbox recently returned to Nepal to evaluate its response to the 2015 earthquakes. The team was led by ShelterBox Australia General Manager, Mike Greenslade with the evaluation conducted by Response Team volunteer, Jo Reid (UK) and Head of Training and Development, Nicky Richardson (UK). The team visited sites where ShelterBox aid was distributed, to conduct interviews with beneficiaries and gain a better understanding of the impact the aid we distribute has on affected families.

ShelterBox personel conduct interviews outside a UN-spec tent

SRT members Jo Reid and Nicky Richardson conduct an interview with ShelterBox beneficiaries in Pipaldanda, Sindhupalchowk, Nepal. ©ShelterBox/Mike Greenslade

Bel Bohadur Sapkota is a subsistence farmer from the hillside village of Pipaldanda, in the Sindhupalchowk district, east of Kathmandu. He was inside his house when a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on 25th April 2015. Luckily for Bel, his wife and 3 children were not with him in the house as the walls and ceiling fell in around him. Outside, his twelve year-old daughter held his baby son in her arms as the earth shook for two minutes. Thinking that he would surely die, he lay trapped in the rubble for 3 hrs before being rescued by friends. Bel was lucky to escape with his life. Many others in Pipaldanda were not so lucky. The earthquake left several dead and many more injured as every house was either completely destroyed or critically damaged.

Bel spent two days in hospital, as his wife and children shared a communal shelter with a hundred others. After two weeks, his family received a UN-spec tent from ShelterBox. Working in conjunction with the Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS), ShelterBox distributed 384 UN-spec tents in Pipaldanda, one for each family.

Bel said,

“It was very marvellous (to receive the tent) as no other help was there. We feel safe in the tent, there have been many aftershocks and I am concerned for my family”.

Bel Bohadur Sapkota (34yrs) received an IRFC tent from ShelterBox in conjunction with the NRCS following the earthquake.

Bel Bohadur Sapkota (34yrs) received an IRFC tent from ShelterBox in conjunction with the NRCS following the earthquake. ©ShelterBox/Mike Greenslade

So concerned is Bel after his lucky escape that he has taken out a Rs 6 million loan (around US$6,000) to construct a concrete and brick house, built to government specifications. Whilst government grants may be forthcoming in the future, Bel has taken a big financial risk to protect his family. With no salary to repay the loan he may have to sell some the land he farms to service the loan. Tellingly, Bel’s is the only new house under construction in the village at present.

Elsewhere, in Sindhupalchowk District, ShelterBox worked with the NRCS to distribute Shelter Repair Kits. Each kit consists of 2 6 x 4m reinforced tarpaulins and a tool kit that includes a shovel, hoe, hammer, saw, pliers and tin snips, 15m of nylon rope, tie wire and a variety of nails. The kits enable families to construct temporary shelters or repair damaged homes.

Lab Bahadu Khadka (60yrs) is a retired government employee from the rural village of Yamuna Danda. Lab’s house was a traditional 3-storey house built from stone, mud and timber. It was completely destroyed by the earthquake. Utilising elements of the Shelter Kit, Lab has constructed a variety of shelters to house his family, store food and protect his livestock. Lab said,

“The items were very useful in clearing rubble and building the shelters along with materials what I could save from my old house”.

 Lab is using his savings to fund building a single-storey transitional shelter, with a low, stone and mud wall and a wooden frame. The window frames are recycled from his old house and the timber milled from the family’s own trees. The house will be finished before the monsoon season arrives and will provide a safe dwelling for his elderly mother. In the future, when finance permits, Lab plans to build an earthquake-proof house. The memory of last April’s disaster looms large in everyone’s mind.

Image of Lab and his wife in front of their new home (under construction)

Lab Bahadu Khadka (60 yrs) and his wife are using their saving to build a transitional shelter, primarily for his elderly mother. ©ShelterBox/Mike Greenslade

Shelter For More Than 15,000 People In Nepal

Nepalese villager help unload a truck of Shelterbox aid

Local volunteers assist in delivering ShelterBox aid to the people of Pipaldanda in Nepal

 

ShelterBox has now been able to provide shelter for more than 15,000 people whose lives were turned upside down following the recent Nepal earthquakes.
Despite the second major earthquake to hit the country last week, which measured 7.3 in magnitude, our ShelterBox response teams have been working tirelessly to reach families whose homes have been destroyed or badly damaged.
The teams have been working with fellow aid agencies the Nepal Red Cross Society, the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and Handicap International to help coordinate and distribute supplies of aid.
So far, more than 2,600 shelter kits and almost 500 UN specification tents have been distributed to families in a variety of areas including the capital of Kathmandu, and the districts of Dhading and Sindhupalchok. Each tent will provide vital shelter for a family whose home has been destroyed, while shelter kits contain the vital items to enable families to create temporary shelters and start repairing their damaged homes.
Our teams have been further helped by local volunteers, including people like Rom Singh Basnyal, who has been helping distribute aid to other families despite suffering a great deal of loss after the earthquake.
Rom Singh Basnyal, a local volunteer who has been helping distribute ShelterBox aid.

Rom Singh Basnyal, a local volunteer who has been helping distribute ShelterBox aid.

Rom comes from the village of Pipaldanda in the district of Sindhupalchok, but is currently working as a lawyer in Kathmandu. After the first earthquake took place, he travelled by bus and then on foot for further hour and a half to get back to his hometown.  When he arrived, he returned to find his family home destroyed and his mother buried under the rubble.
Rom had to carry his mother’s body to a burial spot a few miles away before returning to help other villagers recover the bodies of the dead. It took five days for them to recover all of the people who had been buried in the disaster.
Thankfully, the rest of Rom’s family survived and ShelterBox has provided them with a tent to help them shelter from the coming monsoon rains. Rom had walked for an hour and a half from the village through high mountainous terrain to help our response teams load up the first of our trucks travelling to Pipaldanda with tents for the villagers.
ShelterBox response team member Liz Odell shows villagers in Pipaldanda how to put up the tents that were distributed.

ShelterBox response team member Liz Odell shows villagers in Pipaldanda how to put up the tents that were distributed.

Help from people like Rom, along with cooperation from other organisations, is crucial in helping our aid to reach remote communities in Nepal’s mountainous landscape. However, we still need your support to make sure that we can continue to provide the shelter to keep families safe and dry before the monsoon rains arrive.

You can help our efforts in Nepal and other countries affected by disaster by donating here: PLEASE DONATE