Following the disastrous 7.8M earthquake in Nepal, the United Nations have released a report stating around 600,000 homes have been damaged, with over 140,000 completely destroyed. Families are terrified to go back in their homes, as they fear the ongoing aftershocks may crumble what is left standing. The Nepal Engineers Association has got over 1,000 engineers inspecting homes in the capital city, with a helpline allowing residents to call in and request for inspection. They currently have over 13,000 families who have called for inspection. Of course, this is a luxury that is only available for the residents in Kathmandu, the rest of the country is left to fend for themselves. Fortunately for Pharping community, one of their leaders – Mr. Shashi Sharma – was able to have Mr. Ganesh Karmacharya, an engineer and also an alumni of RF partner Shikharapur School, come in and talk with the residents of the Pharping area.
Rukmini Foundation (RF) and A School for Community (ASC) staff worked together to hold a workshop on rebuilding houses at ASC where more than 50 community members were present. Mr. Karmacharya educated the residents on the fundamentals of earthquake safety – elaborating on aspects such as why houses fall during earthquake, what mistakes are often made during the chaotic time, and the basic dos and don’ts of earthquake aftermath. Mr. Karmacharya also advised the residents on vital steps that need to be taken in order to stay safe in the upcoming days.
Mr. Ganesh Karmacharya shows pamphlets related to earthquake safety
Mr. Sharma had also requested that Mr. Karmacharya propose a simple and cost effective design for a future house that could be built for families whose homes were destroyed or damaged. Mr. Karmacharya shared with the community his vision to rebuild houses that are durable, eco-friendly, sustainable and cost-effective. The estimate cost for constructing such home would be approximately RS. 350,000 – 400,000; which is equivalent to around $3,000 – $4,000 per house.
A visual of Mr. Karmacharya’s model home for a stronger community in Pharping
The data collected from Pharping and the surrounding communities show that there are 11 houses which have been completely destroyed, 10 other houses that have sustained major cracks, while 20 houses have been left with minor cracks. Residents who have lost their home are currently living in makeshift shelter made from tents. Alarmingly for us, the families whose houses suffered major cracks continue living in them, despite knowing the dangers of it, as they feel they don’t have a better alternative.
Mr. Shashi Sharma (front left) with community members at the Earthquake Workshop
With the monsoon season approaching, it is absolutely crucial that the residents of Pharping work together and focus on rebuilding new houses. Otherwise, the survivors who are left homeless have to face the harsh reality of returning to their crumbling house or staying in the open and suffer through the torrential rain. These families, and many others throughout the nation, face very unpleasant choices.
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