Although the media have given up reporting about the catastrophe in Nepal for quite some time, the earth is still quaking two or three times a day with a strength of 4 to 5 on the Richter scale. The Nepalese whose houses are still "standing" are also afraid to live in them and in the evenings they sleep in the nearby school grounds. 1600 schools in the country were destroyed completely and one can say that it was luck that the earthquake happened on a holiday when the children had free. The schools and universities that are still standing are closed for the time being and the country counts hundreds of thousands of homeless people. All of them are anxious and at their nerves end because they are waiting for the very big quake ("The big one") that, so they believe, should still come soon. Two dozen dams in the Himalayas are full of cracks and the economy is on the zero point.
Kathmandu is half empty because a lot of people have returned to their birth places either by transport or on foot in order to check on their next relatives. Many Ministrys were destroyed and reams of documents were lost which makes it even more difficult to run Nepaal than in normal times and the politicians of all parties distinguish themselves in the media by taking part in rescue operations in front of the camera and by distributing cheques to the victims.
Our staff members Muna, Sija and Sushma are now working with diligence on organizing everything so that our plan becomes reality: We want to build dwellings out of tarpaulin and bamboo for the 100 homeless families in Muna's village, Mudhku. Twenty temporary but sturdy dwellings are already available and all the villagers already sleep in them in order to protect themselves from rain and earthquakes whilst waiting for their own dwelling.
We are looking for an architect who would be in the position to design permanent, and for the poor affordable, earthquake-proof houses built from materials which already exist in Nepal. Such projects have already been successfully completed in Mexico and Africa and there is no reason why a similar project should not be possible in Nepal. As it looks like at the moment only the few rich Nepalese will be able to afford to have an earthquake-proof house built using the conventional methods. The rest of the population were a life long never able to save money since first of all they had to take care of feeding the family day by day. Our work in the slums of Banshigat and Thapathali continues the same as before the earthquake. In Banshigat the kindergarten had to be built up under a tent in the open fields because the wooden house in which it was situated threatens to fall down any minute. Before the earthquake, most of the women from the slums earned money by working as cleaners and washerwomen for the middle class families. Now these families can no longer afford to pay for a household help because their houses are often badly damaged and now they themselves are in need.
The building of new accomodation in the village Mudhku, an hour away from Kathmandu, gives the inhabitants hope since they no longer have the feeling that they have been left on their own. All of them send greetings from their village and thank you from their hearts: You have not only offered them shelter, but you have given them a new impulse.
The situation after the earthquake has shown us how quickly the supporters of "Kinderhilfe Nepal" can be reached by e-mail. If you have an e-mail address then please let us have it. Of course we will continue the mailing of our newsletter the same as before.
Very kind wishes