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Finding a safe space: update from Nepal

On 25 April 2015, the worst earthquake in 81 years hit Nepal, causing devastation in the capital city Kathmandu as well as in isolated mountain areas of the country. Over 8000 people died, and thousands of homes and public buildings were damaged or destroyed. A second earthquake on 12 May, with its epicentre further east, caused further fear and devastation.

All We Can supported its long-standing local partners to respond to the humanitarian crisis caused by the earthquakes, and use their local knowledge to ensure effective and sustainable solutions. It has also worked through experienced international relief partners with specialist knowledge in supplying water and sanitation facilities, rebuilding homes and supporting communities in getting back on their feet. All We Can’s supporters reacted quickly and generously to the Nepal Earthquake Appeal, donating over £300,000 which is being used to help affected communities.

Good foundations

One of All We Can’s specialist relief partners, Medair, is working in Sindhupalchok District in central Nepal to deliver emergency shelter and sanitation support to over 40,000 affected individuals. They have provided families with tools and technical support to help them safely demolish damaged houses, schools and community buildings. This is an important part of the rebuilding process as many damaged structures pose a risk for people living and working near them. Medair has also employed people in the villages in this district on a ‘cash for work’ scheme. This means that people have not only been able to make their villages safer and create living spaces appropriate for the cold weather, but also earn some money for their labour as they demolish the dangerous buildings.

A view of three cleared sites in Listikot . All demolished and cleared houses were formerly two-storey buildings. The homeowners had each requested technical help from All We Can’s partner Medair to take down their damaged houses safely. ©Medair/Phil Vice.

A Medair ‘cash for work’ labourer and homeowner stands in front of his former two-storey house, which he is helping to demolish. ©Medair/Phil Vice

During October 2015, All We Can’s partner Medair distributed emergency relief items in the Phulpingkatti and Listikot areas of Sindhupalchowk, including 3135 blankets and 1988 tarpaulins. ©Medair/Hester Sanderman.

Challenges in Nepal

All We Can’s partners have been working extremely hard to try and support people in great need, but have been hindered by the ongoing fuel crisis in the country. Border blocks between Nepal and India have severely limited the availability of fuel, gas and essential medicines. These blockades are affecting all areas of life in Nepal. Small businesses are unable to open due to lack of resources, earthquake-affected families cannot access the supplies they need to rebuild their homes, and thousands remain in temporary shelters. In addition to this, the impact on Nepal’s economy has been harsh.

All We Can’s Partnership Manager for Nepal, Zoe Wilkinson, said, “This situation is very difficult for all our partners. Nepali people are very resilient but winters are harsh and the fuel crisis has prevented vital aid from reaching the places that need it most.”

Pray for Nepal

All We Can’s partners:Pray for our dedicated local and international partners working hard in spite of the challenges posed by the fuel crisis. Pray for safety in difficult and often dangerous settings and pray that they might be able to help those who need them most.

The government of Nepal: Pray for wisdom to know how to bring the blockade to an end and for ways to promote peace in a stressful situation.

The people of Nepal: Pray for safety, comfort and provision as the Nepali people live through their winter season, many of them without proper homes to shelter in. Pray that the most vulnerable get the vital supplies they need to live.

About the Author Laura Cook

Laura works for All We Can as the Communications Manager. She is also an internationally acclaimed photographer with a passion for women's rights. She is studying MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies in her spare time and lives with her husband Stephen in Essex.

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