Two months after Nepal earthquake

What we’ve done, what we plan to do

WINNIPEG
Residents of Dharka received metal sheets to use as shelter materials against a backdrop of ruined houses. Sheeting was provided to each family in the community. (MCC photo/Luke Reesor-Keller)

Residents of Dharka received metal sheets to use as shelter materials against a backdrop of ruined houses. Sheeting was provided to each family in the community. (MCC photo/Luke Reesor-Keller)

As the monsoon season begins in Nepal, the main priority for people affected by the Apr. 25, 2015, earthquake is shelter.

At the same time, by working with our local partners, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is looking at the longer term, and finding solutions to some of the struggles faced by the people in Nepal.

We have worked against time to deliver immediate humanitarian assistance to rural and remote areas. The window of opportunity, especially in isolated areas is rapidly closing; heavy rains often trigger landslides, making travel to these areas much more difficult.

Earlier this week, through our partner Shanti Nepal, MCC delivered metal sheeting to 459 families in the community of Darkha in Dhading district of central Nepal.

These materials are particularly useful because they can be used as temporary roofing and also repurposed for long-term housing.

The earthquake significantly damaged almost all the houses in the community of Darkha, and many people are using salvaged materials and tarps to build temporary shelters. Others are staying in sheds their animals once occupied.

Mark Epp, the new program director for MCC Canada, recently visited Nepal to assess and plan our ongoing response.

Ultimately our goal is to build earthquake-resistant housing and train local people on improved building techniques.

Residents of Dharka collect metal sheeting shelter materials distributed by MCC Nepal and partner Shanti Nepal. (MCC Photo/Luke Reesor Keller)

Residents of Dharka collect metal sheeting shelter materials distributed by MCC Nepal and partner Shanti Nepal. (MCC Photo/Luke Reesor Keller)

“We want to support rebuilding in a way that leaves people less vulnerable,” Epp says. He oversaw the earthquake response in Haiti where MCC also placed a significant emphasis on training local builders in improved techniques.

The government of Nepal estimates more than 505, 000 houses were completely destroyed with nearly 280,000 houses left partially damaged.

MCC was able to respond quickly and effectively from the beginning because our partners and staff were on the ground when the disaster struck. We have delivered food, household items and temporary shelter throughout Okhaldhunga, Darkha and Lalitpur.

In addition to meeting urgent needs, we are planning a three-year response. MCC and our local partner organizations are actively coordinating with government and other organizations responding to the earthquake. This helps prevent overlap and focus assistance on where it is most needed.

MCC is also working with partner Koshish on a program to respond to the mental health and trauma issues in earthquake-affected areas.

Mancauri Biswakarma stands outside her damaged house with her daughter Rita and grandson Roshi. After their other house collapsed in the earthquake, Mancaur's family of 10 must now live together in one room in this much-smaller house. Most of the roof collapsed and has been replaced with a tarp. (MCC Photo/Luke Reesor-Keller)

Mancauri Biswakarma stands outside her damaged house with her daughter Rita and grandson Roshi. After their other house collapsed in the earthquake, Mancaur’s family of 10 must now live together in one room in this much-smaller house. Most of the roof collapsed and has been replaced with a tarp. (MCC Photo/Luke Reesor-Keller)

“We’re trying to work as carefully as possible to use the resources wisely,” says Epp. “We ask for people’s continued support and prayers as MCC Nepal and partners continue their response.”

MCC is thankful for your donations. We have received approximately $3 million designated to our earthquake response as of June 23, 2016. So far, we have used more than $300,000.

To learn more about MCC’s response in Nepal, including a story map, photo galleries, a video and stories, please visit mcccanada.ca/learn/what/relief/nepal-earthquake.

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