Nepal prepares for winter. People in Need have helped more than 100,000 people

Nepal prepares for winter. People in Need have helped more than 100,000 people

Despite the insufficient supply of fuel caused by the blockade on the border with India, People in Need continues to provide aid to the Nepalese people.

Kathmandu (19 January 2016) – Nine months after the earthquake which disrupted the lives of more than eight million people, Nepal is still recovering. Now, people, many of whom have lost their homes or livelihoods, have to deal with the onset of a harsh winter. To help them, People in Need has been delivering much needed supplies to the residents of the Gorkha, Kavrepalanchowk and Sindhupalchowk Districts since November. They provide materials for insulating housing or building provisional shelter, as well as basic supplies like warm blankets, sleeping bags and warm clothing for the most vulnerable. The flow of humanitarian aid into the country is significantly delayed by the blockade on the border with India. Yet People in Need are continuing their work, despite the complications. Thanks to The Department for International Development (DFID), International Organization for Migration (IOM) Czech Radio and the public fundraising campaign SOS Nepal, PIN has helped more than 100,000 people so far in the worst hit regions of Nepal.

Battling winter

In the past few months, the main priority for us in Nepal is helping people prepare for extreme winter conditions. In 14 regions People in Need provides materials like corrugated iron sheets, tarps, insulation materials, tools, matrasses and blankets, in order to help improve and insulate the temporary shelters that many people are still living in after the earthquake. Most of the local residents still live in shanties built of wood and corrugated iron. Without this help, many families would have to spend the winter in cloth tents. The provision of aid now focuses on the most remote villages where these families live. “After the earthquake we lived under a tarp with the whole family for half a year. I borrowed money from my relatives and friends in order to build a new house. But without outside help, it would have been hard to start again,” says Pasang Nurbu, a residents of the Lho village in Norther Gorkha. The most vulnerable members of the community – pregnant women, mothers of young babies, children under five, seniors and the disabled – also receive additional items like sleeping bags, winter jackets, shawls, hats, gloves and socks.

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People in Need in Nepal has so far helped over 100,000 people:

11 815 families were assisted in fixing up their transitional shelters

61 355 people received mattresses, blankets, warm clothing and solar lamps

5 490 households received financial aid

13 980 of the most vulnerable residents (pregnant women, mothers of young babies, children under five, seniors and the disabled) received sleeping bags, winter jackets, shawls, hats, gloves and socks

7 856 people, especially women and children, from villages and camps are better protected from violence and abuse

54 tents serve as schools, clinics or community centres

Lack of fuel in Nepal

Beside the aftermath of earthquakes, the population constantly has to deal with many other natural catastrophes. In the summer, there are monsoons and landslides. Since late September, their lives have also been severely complicated by the blockade on the Indian border, which has resulted in the lack of fuel and has worsened the overall situation in the country. Most of the Nepalese families use gas stoves to cook their food, and are now forced to use open-air fires. The increased need for burning wood, means greater felling of forests. The humanitarian workers in the country are unable to bring aid to many afflicted areas as a result of the meagre supply of fuel. “Earlier, we used to be able to bring materials to the affected villages in Sindhupalchowk within a day. Now it takes us three days only to find someone with a transport vehicle with enough fuel. And we have to pay thrice what we paid in August,” says the logistics specialist Dipesh Regimi.

The blockade of the borders came at the worst possible moment, when humanitarian workers are battling against time in order to provide materials to people before the coming of frost. “The on-going, four-month blockade of the Nepalese border extremely complicates our efforts to improve the living conditions of people who were effected by the destructive earthquake. Nepal, which is dependent on the overland transport of fuel, gas, foodstuffs and raw materials for industrial production, now has to make do with approximately a third of the normal provisions, compared to the time before the earthquake. In addition to fuel, a number of other basic commodities are also unavailable now. This fact also complicated the distribution of humanitarian aid, in our case in the outlying parts of the Gorkha and Sindhupalchowk districts,” says Leoš Vích, director of the People in Need mission in Nepal. “Nevertheless, we have so far managed to deliver almost all of the winterization support that we expected and we will finish the distribution in the upcoming days,” he adds.

Supporting local communities in 2016

People in Need will continue their work in Nepal in 2016. “As soon as the winter ends, we want to focus on the rehabilitation phase, primarily in the hard-to-reach mountainous regions in Northern Gorkha. We have prepared a complex program, which includes helping vulnerable communities define their priorities for the reconstruction of key infrastructure. We will then provide them with counselling not only on how to carry out the reconstruction work, but also, for example, how to apply for funding from government programmes or from other humanitarian organizations. Our efforts will focus, for example, on access roads, irrigation systems, community grain mills or schoolhouses, enhancing housing facilities, revitalising the labour market or helping communities be more resistant in case of future disasters,” says Denisa Bultasová, the People in Need coordinator for Nepal programmes. “Keeping in mind the caste and gender based discrimination in Nepal, it is imperative for us that no part of society is excluded from this process and that the opinions of its most vulnerable members are heard. To make sure of this, we are continuing to provide social protection for women and children and educational programmes,” she adds.

People in Need in Nepal

In April 2015, Nepal was hit by the most destructive earthquake in 80 years. With a magnitude of 7.8 Mw, it left almost 9,000 people dead and 22,000 wounded. Hundreds of thousands of people were left without a home. Immediate humanitarian aid was provided. People in Need provided materials for the construction of temporary houses in the affected regions and basic supplies to people who were often left with nothing. PIN’s Nepal team regularly brings aid via helicopter to cut-off mountain regions. Protecting local women and children from human trafficking is also very important. Almost 12,000 people fall victim to human trafficking every year in Nepal. After the earthquake, this situation has gotten even worse.

People in Need launched the fundraising campaign SOS Nepal in 2015 in order to help the victims of the earthquake. The campaign has gathered 33,300,000 CZK. Aid that is provided to help the Nepalese prepare for the winter is also possible thanks to the significant support from donors from the People in Need Club of Friends, the endowment fund of the Czech public radio, DFID – Department for International Development, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Charity fund of Avast. People in Need wants to thank all the donors who have contributed to the aid efforts in Nepal.

For more information please contact:

Denisa Bultasová, the People in Need’s Nepal programmes coordinator, + 977 9808 582 298 Denisa.Bultasova@clovekvtisni.cz (currently in Nepal, UTC+05:45)

Petr Drbohlav, the People in Need’s regional coordinator for Asia, +420 724 329 285 petr.drbohlav@peopleinneed.cz

Author: PIN