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

Nepal Earthquake One Year On

Nepali woman with shelter kit on her shoulder

Surya Maya Danwar collects a ShelterBox shelter kit following the catastrophic earthquake in Nepal last year.

 

One year ago, a catastrophic 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck in Gorkha, Nepal. The quake killed thousands of people, flattened entire villages and knocked out vital infrastructure like roads and bridges.

Despite difficulties getting into the country, a ShelterBox team arrived within two days of the quake and quickly started distributing aid from prepositioned stocks in the country.

In Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, we supplied tents for hospitals that had been badly damaged and were treating patients in the open air. Here, our tents provided much needed covered space in which to carry out minor treatments, while in rural clinics, medical staff used tents to sleep in so that they could provide round-the-clock treatment to people injured in the quake.

As we were able to transport more aid and more teams into the country, we focused our efforts on the rural mountain communities that had been worst affected by the quake. Many of the villages we helped were incredibly remote, and we had to use a mixture of trucks and helicopters to reach them.

One of these remote areas was Phataksila, home to Surya Maya Danwar. Surya was at home eating a meal when the earthquake struck. Her father-in-law was outside and shouted to her to get out of the house, but she didn’t make it in time. The roof fell in and trapped Surya. If it wasn’t for her mother and father-in-law, who rescued her, she would have died.

When Surya was able to stand again, she started searching for her son, who wasn’t at home when the quake took place. She was very worried, but thankfully her son had been in a field by the river when it happened – if he’d been at home, he might not have survived.

The family were able to salvage very little from the house, as many things were completely buried in the quake, but they created a makeshift shelter from old pieces of corrugated iron and wood.

However, Surya received a shelter kit from ShelterBox, as did all of the other families in her area. The shelter kit included heavy-duty tarpaulins and tools that can be used in a variety of ways to mend and create shelters. The family used the tarpaulin to make their shelter waterproof, which provided them with a sturdy temporary shelter before they created their new home.

Surya and ShelterBox response team member Mike Greenslade stand outside her new home.

Surya and ShelterBox Response Team member, Mike Greenslade stand outside her new home.


Surya not only used the tools included in the kit to help secure the structure, but to dig the fields. Many crops were damaged and destroyed during the earthquake, so being able to tend to the fields and start growing produce again is very important.

Along with ShelterBox equipment, people were also shown how they could use the kits to build back safer homes, that would be more resilient to future quakes.

Surya said: ‘If another earthquake happened, it wouldn’t be like before. The new shelter it safer and I wouldn’t be trapped again.’

We’ve now helped provide shelter for more than 67,000 people in Nepal since last year. However, our work never stops. Disasters and conflict around the world mean that there are families in need of shelter 365 days a year.

In Ecuador, communities have been devastated by another 7.8 magnitude earthquake – one measuring exactly the same strength as the deadly quake in Nepal.

One of our ShelterBox response teams is on the ground, facing aftershocks, landslides and blocked roads to assess the level of destruction. We are primed to provide the best possible type of aid to exactly where it is needed, but we need your help to do it. Please donate today to make sure that no family goes without shelter.

Tents And Shelter Kits Arrive, To Begin Their Ascent To The Mountains Of Nepal

Smiling Nepalese man and woman unload a large tent from a truck

Local volunteers in Chautara help unload Shelterbox aid

There are smiles in these photos, as the arrival of 39 tons of ShelterBox aid brings hope to remote villages in earthquake-shattered Nepal.

International disaster relief charity ShelterBox is gearing up its operation in the uplands of Nepal. In the early hours of this morning 39 tons of much-needed shelter aid left Kathmandu’s busy airport, heading in trucks up steep winding roads towards the mountain district of Sindhupalchowk.

This shipment contains 500 family tents, made to United Nations specifications. There are also 500 ShelterBox shelter kits, containing tools to help clear rubble and saw wood, and – most importantly – waterproof tarpaulins and fixings to create basic, dry shelters, or to make the best of habitable parts of damaged buildings.

They will soon be on their way to selected sites among Sindhupalchowk’s  79 village communities, among the highest inhabited altitudes in the world.

A group of local volunteers from the community of Chautara  helped ShelterBox’s Liz Odell and Liam Norris unload the equipment into an abandoned hospital, which is being used as a storage facility.

Liz Odell explains, ‘The doctors have moved to a local football field where ShelterBox is contributing tents to provide space for the medics to work and live. The hospital building is badly damaged and unsafe to work in.’

ShelterBox is working with the Nepal Red Cross to distribute the aid to families in remote areas badly affected by the earthquake. Helicopters still come and go, airlifting people in need of medical assistance, and carrying aid to communities that can be reached only by air or on foot.

Men loading large tents at airport

ShelterBox Response Team volunteers, Peter Pearce (AUS) and Dave Hallett (CAN) load UN spec. tents at Kathmandu Airport

ShelterBox has strengthened its Nepal team in recent days, and now has twelve people working in country. Phil Duloy (UK) was the original in country co-ordinator, and is now deputising for Andrew Clark (UK) as is Dave Ray (UK). Dave has experience of shelter cluster management in Malawi, so will also be cluster liaison. Nicola Hinds, Becky Maynard and Liz Odell, all from the UK, were in place within days of the earthquake. They have since been joined by Sallie Buck (UK), Dave Hallett (Canada), Mike Peachey (New Zealand), Peter Pearce (Australia), Liam Norris (UK) and Andrew Kukielka (UK). More will follow to refresh or replace teams, as ShelterBox expects to be in Nepal for some time.

In addition to today’s consignment of 1,000 tents and kits, 53 ShelterBoxes are already in Nepal, with a further 1,500 now in transit. 500 more shelter kits are landing this afternoon, and a further 1,736 are in Dubai awaiting charter flights. ShelterBox already had 72 ShelterBoxes in Kathmandu when the earthquake struck, as it had responded to flooding and landslides in Nepal last Autumn. The tents from those boxes are being used as outdoor clinic space in four Kathmandu hospitals, and now in Chautara.

ShelterBox Chief Executive Alison Wallace says, ‘ShelterBox responded rapidly to this disaster, and had the practical advantage of having some aid already in the country, which had an instant use to create extra hospital space. Kathmandu brings its own challenges, and now our teams are working with colleague charities on plans to get to the hardest-to-reach mountain communities. The flow of incoming aid is getting faster, and we now have substantial stock already in country, and much more on the way.’

‘This is a truly international operation, from our team here in Cornwall, through to our multi-country response volunteers on the ground, working with a cluster of partner organisations from all over the world. Every arm of ShelterBox is being flexed – our overseas affiliates, our donors from around the world, our big-hearted supporters, our tireless volunteers.’

‘This organisation runs on generosity and compassion, and we are seeing both on a grand scale in our response to the Nepal earthquake. I want to thank everyone involved for their time and energy, and donations, which will be needed for many weeks to come.’

You can support our efforts in Nepal and other countries by donating here: PLEASE DONATE or phone 1300 996 038

 

Tents And Adaptable Shelter Kits Arrive In Nepal

Image of mother and child standing in front of a pile of rubble that used to be their home

Just one of thousands of devastated homes in Nepal (Becky Maynard/ShelterBox)

 

ShelterBox’s logistics team, along with help from our response teams in Nepal, have worked around the clock to transport aid into Nepal. Despite major logistical challenges and a bottleneck at Nepal’s only international airport in Kathmandu, an initial 500 tents, along with 500 shelter kits have now arrived in the country to bring shelter to the thousands of communities torn apart by the massive earthquake.
 
While early reports suggest that around 600,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed, the full extent of the 7.8 magnitude quake that hit between the major cities of Pokhara and the capital of Kathmandu is yet to be revealed.
Our ShelterBox response teams are currently based in Kathmandu as well as in the district of Sindhupalchowk, where around 95% of buildings have been damaged or totally destroyed by the shock of the earthquake.
In Kathmandu and other urban areas, the main priority is to clear rubble, and to rebuild structures, while in rural and remote areas, whole villages have been totally devastated.
Nicola Hinds, who arrived in Nepal last week, said: ‘We have already heard that in the area of Gorkha, 90% of buildings have been destroyed and a further 5% have been partially destroyed. We believe that it will be a real challenge to reach all of these communities, but we will find a way because that’s what ShelterBox does.’
As different types of aid are needed in different parts of the country, ShelterBox’s logistics team, based in Helston, UK, have decided to send 500 UN specification tents and 500 shelter kits from pre-positioned stocks in Dubai.
Families in remote areas, who have completely lost their homes, will be provided with tents, while shelter kits will be distributed to people living in urban areas.
image of shovel, hoe, saw, hammer, tin snips, wire, bags of nails, rope and bag

The contents of a Shelter Tool Kit together with 2 tarpaulins forms a Shelter Kit

The kits, which contain tarpaulins, rope and essential tools for building, can be used to help clear rubble, to make temporary shelters and to repair damaged homes.
Shane Revill, Supply Chain Manager, said: “By sending out a range of different aid, we are ensuring that we meet the needs of different communities. In rural areas, whole villages have been destroyed, so it is essential that families have shelter to protect them from the elements. In cities like Kathmandu, the contents of our shelter kits will help people to rebuild their homes while be able to stay close to their families and communities.’

Since the earthquake struck, our ShelterBox response team members have already distributed tents, which were pre-positioned in the country, to hospitals in Nepal that had been badly damaged by the quake. They have also been working with other aid organisations to help deliver essential food and shelter to remote communities in Nepal’s mountains.

ShelterBox will continue to send further aid to Nepal and is currently finalising partnerships with fellow aid agencies Handicap International (HI), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development, (ACTED), to ensure that we reach as many communities in need of shelter as possible.

Green Boxes Mark A New Start For Families In Nepal

ShelterBox response team members Richard Innes and Richard Loat deliver ShelterBoxes to Sindhupalchowk, near the Chinese border in Nepal

ShelterBox response team members Richard Innes and Richard Loat deliver ShelterBoxes to Sindhupalchowk, near the Chinese border in Nepal

 

When extraordinary monsoon rains hit Nepal earlier this year, many communities across the country suffered from landslides, loss of infrastructure and rising floodwater.

ShelterBox has been working tirelessly since the floods first struck to reach isolated communities despite the country’s challenging terrain and damage to roads and bridges.

This week, the latest ShelterBox team of Richard Innes (UK) and Richard Loat (CAN), successfully delivered 31 boxes and 3 SchoolBoxes to Sindhupalchowk, a village situated around 20 miles from the Chinese border.

Here, the constant downpour caused an entire mountainside to collapse, burying the village and blocking the local Sun Koshi River in the process. What remained of the village was then submerged as the blocked river flooded the immediate area, leaving only rooftop antennas visible.

Resident Sarita Eanang was working in another city when the mountainside collapsed, while her husband was labouring near the Chinese border. She returned to find that their three children, her parents and in-laws had died in the landslide, and that the road to the Chinese border, and her husband, had been completely blocked.

Now reunited with her husband, Sarita carries a red card, which has been issued by the Nepalese government to those affected by the disaster to show that they have lost family and are without a place to stay.

Along with her red card, Sarita and her husband now also have a green ShelterBox. She told the team that after having lost everything they owned, the ShelterBox represents a new start for her and her husband.

Living alongside other families that have lost their homes and received ShelterBox tents, the resilient people of Sindhupalchowk are holding their heads high.

As they grieve and start to rebuild not just their village, but their entire community and way of life along the Sun Koshi River, green boxes and white tents temporarily dot the riverside during their transition back to normalcy.

Find out more or donate here: www.shelterboxaustralia.org.au

Flooding In Nepal, An Audio Slideshow

Ryan Lampasona with a displaced family affected by the recent flooding in Sindhupalchowk, Nepal (Ryan Lampasona/ShelterBox)

Ryan Lampasona with a displaced family affected by the recent flooding in Sindhupalchowk, Nepal (Ryan Lampasona/ShelterBox)

 

Throughout August 2014 Nepal experienced floods and landslides, caused by the annual monsoon rains. One area in particular, Sindhupalchowk, suffered a colossal landslide which blocked the Sunkoshi river, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes and move to higher ground.

ShelterBox response volunteers Sally Buck and Ryan Lampasona have been in the region, assessing need. Sally reflects on hearing the story of 31 year old Sher Bahadur Sharki, a father displaced by the landslide.
‘As an experienced response team member, this is my 15th deployment, I thought I would cope quite well with what can be an emotional roller coaster but hearing Sher talk about his family brought home to me the fragility of life.
‘Many of the people climbed trees and stayed there for over 24 hours before they were rescued. There is very little left of his village, the traumatised families are sleeping in a school, but the authorities are keen to reopen the school to allow some degree of normality to return for the children. ShelterBox hopes to be able to help his, and other families who have lost everything.’