17th December 2015

The challenges facing our earthquake response

As we approach Christmas, Nepal remains in the grip of widespread shortages resulting from the southern border blockade.An end to the situation is difficult to predict but our field team is maintaining its welfare support and pressing ahead with earthquake reconstruction projects.

Effects of the blockade

The effects are being felt throughout the country. In a recent article, the BBC identified some of the key consequences, including:

  1. Excessive logging
  2. Medicines running low
  3. No paper, ink or books for schools
  4. Delays to reconstruction projects
  5. Extreme fuel shortages
  6. Economic loss

Many of our Gurkha veterans and widows continue to live in makeshift shelters, with the cold of winter beginning to settle in.

Feeling the loss of fuel

For the Trust, the lack of fuel is having the greatest impact as the price of materials, delivery costs and labour grows.

This will have an impact on the overall cost of rebuilding in some areas. However, our strong relationships with local suppliers mean that we expect to finish all that we forecast, even if the reconstruction process is delayed.

The veterans, widows and communities we support are now hoping for a late monsoon to provide crucial time for rebuilding.

Key progress so far

Despite the difficulties, we’ve begun to make encouraging progress:

  • Work has started on around 15 home rebuilds in a number of districts.
  • Queen’s Gurkha Engineers supporting our work have finished building two classroom blocks and a community hall in rural areas. They’ll soon begin work on further projects.
  • Rural water and sanitation projects are underway in both the East and West.
  • School and house sites are being cleared in preparation for construction work.
  • Additional motorbikes provided by a major donor are being put to good use by our mobile doctors.

How else is the Trust affected?

We’re currently able to source enough medicines and were able to run another successful medical camp in Bhojpur last month. However, we may soon face shortages.

Our facilities have now run out of cooking gas and, like most of the nation, are preparing food over open fires.

Despite the many challenges of working in Nepal, our field team continue to provide incredible support in the Himalayan foothills. In times like these, the Gurkha grit really comes to the fore!

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