A letter from… Nepal
Krishna, an earthquake survivor, reports from Nepal
I’m 72 and I live in Gorkha, Nepal. My village was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake and since then I have been living in a dilapidated shelter on a steep hillside.
It is a four-hour walk to get to the nearest town for supplies. I use my state pension (8,000 Nepali rupees [approximately £56]) to buy rice and oil to feed myself but it is not much. I don’t work, apart from tending a tiny plot of land where I grow mustard and spinach.
I was living here, but it was a better structure than I have now. It was two floors high and made of wood. It had a stone floor.
When the earthquake struck I was right here, eating. Suddenly the earth started shaking so I ran away with my food. When I came back, my house had collapsed. I was very scared. I thought I would die. My neighbour wasn’t there at the time and I thought I was going to die all on my own. The ground was constantly shaking.
After the earthquake, my neighbours helped me to build a tiny shelter. It has two areas – one for sleeping and one for cooking. There is no door. In places, the bamboo has collapsed and all around the shelter there are holes. In the cold winter months, wind howls through the gaps and during the monsoon, rain pours in. I have to wrap myself up in plastic to try and keep dry…
By eliminating middlemen in the construction material supply chain, Practical Action’s Build Back Better project helps bring cement, iron, stone, bricks and wood to people who need them most, at lower prices. The project supports local entrepreneurs by providing equipment grants, loans and training to countries hit by earthquakes. This enables local suppliers to bridge the gap between supply and increased demand. Click here for more information about Build Back Better, or to donate
towards this work
This is an extract from an article that was published in the September 2018 edition of Reform