Sep 14, 2015

Working with Nepal's Marginalized Dalit Communities in the Wake of the Earthquake

The name CARE is very familiar to 36 year old Mangal who belongs to the Dalit community of Nepal. He has many fond memories of CARE working in his village 15 years ago where they formed community groups to manage waste and provide livestock to families. “We used to be regularly discriminated against by the older generations because we belong to the Dalit community,” he says. “But about 15 years ago CARE came to our village and formed groups that included people from the higher caste and lower caste. Since then, people of Barpak have learned to work together without discriminating against each other. Today the perception of the Dalit people has totally changed. We can socialize with people from the higher castes and even work together to help each other out.”

This is one of the many examples where CARE has made long term sustainable change in many parts of Nepal. After the earthquake on April 25, 2015, CARE is once again seeking to make long term change for the people of Barpak, whose houses were reduced to rubble after the massive earthquake that struck the country.

There are many people like Mangal, who lost everything in the earthquake. All they have left are the bittersweet memories of their beautiful homes, built out of the local natural stone and slate tiles, whose picturesque beauty was so well-know that tourists from all over the world flocked to the village to stay.

Mangal remembers the moment the earthquake destroyed his home with sorrow; “We had a beautiful house in Dandagaon village, where many tourists used to visit. After the earthquake all of our essential belongings like utensils and food were buried inside the rubble. I did not expect to survive as I could see the entire village collapse in front of my eyes.  I am very surprised and thankful that I am still alive.”

CARE has distributed more than 2,000 cooking utensils and hygiene items to the people of Barpak village, which the people of Dandagaon now rely on for their daily use. As Mangal says; “these utensils have been so useful for us in this situation. We could have never afforded to purchase them on our own.” 

Turning his attention to the roof of the small shelter he has constructed for himself and his family after the earthquake he notes; “we made this shelter from our old iron sheets that we were able to collect from the rubble of our house. But I don’t know if it can protect us from the monsoon rains. CARE has already helped us in so many ways, and we hope that CARE will help us reconstructing our shelter too.”

Many people share the same concerns as Mangal. The few materials they have been able to save from the wreckage of their homes are often damaged or inadequate. CARE has already begun distributing iron sheeting to hundreds of households in Barpak village of Gorkha in a desperate race to try to provide them with the materials necessary to construct durable temporary shelters before the monsoon rains start and the road down to the main town or Gorkha becomes cut off.           

The Dalits of Barpak are an amazingly resilient and resourceful people. All Mangal and his community ask for is some assistance to get them started with basic building materials and expert advice and then they are more than ready to rebuild their lives and their homes. They will work together as a community - without prejudices around caste or ethnicity - to make sure that everyone comes back from this disaster stronger and more united.

Links:

Jul 1, 2015

Typhoon Haiyan - A Final Update

Haiyan 1 - Peter Caton
Haiyan 1 - Peter Caton

In the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, CARE collaborated with the United Nations and some 40 other agencies to rapidly assess the situation and needs of people across nine provinces. Food, shelter and the restoration of livelihoods were the biggest priorities identified. Despite severe logistical challenges due to flooding and blocked or destroyed roads, CARE began distributing food relief packages just eight days after the storm.

As we continued to reach needy families with food supplies, CARE also mobilized our local partners to assist in providing survivors with shelter repair kits and initial cash transfers to support the recovery of livelihoods.

Thanks to the timely support and generosity from our donors, CARE surpassed the target of reaching 40,000 households in the three worst affected areas in the Visayas region: Leyte, Western Samar and Panay. In the first year of our response, CARE assisted 68,170 households (or 318,650 people) with food, shelter and financial assistance.

CARE has now transitioned from an emergency to recovery phase, meaning our food distributions have ended and we are focusing on helping more people rebuild their lives through an integrated shelter and livelihoods program approach. Given the scale and scope of the devastation, this form of humanitarian development assistance – helping families build back safer and revive the local economy and livelihoods – will need to be sustained over the coming years to ensure the full recovery of affected communities.

Top Line Achievements:

  • 54,284 households (or 252,115 people) received emergency food assistance. Overall, CARE and our local partners delivered more than 1,115 metric tons of food.
  • 13,905 households (or 59,984 people) received emergency shelter supplies, including tarpaulins, tools and kitchen sets. The number of tarpaulins distributed by CARE could cover the equivalent of 4,040 basketball courts.
  • 9,484 children were fed as part of a CARE-supported government school feeding program.
  • 15,413 households (or 77,068 people) received high-quality shelter repair kits, including corrugated metal sheets and tools, and cash to cover the purchase of lumber and construction costs.
  • CARE trained more than 500 community carpenters on “build back safer” techniques to support people in rebuilding their homes.
  • 27,040 households (or 135,200 people) benefited from livelihoods start-up grants of US$181 and orientations on livelihoods planning and household money management to help them restore previous work or engage in new income-generating activities.
  • Over 220 trainings were conducted on livelihoods planning and good household money management.

In total, CARE reached 318,650 people affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Thank you for your generous support!

Haiyan 2
Haiyan 2
May 15, 2015

UPDATE - May 15, 2015

Mingwa Lama - 2015 PRASHANTH VISHWANATHAN/CARE
Mingwa Lama - 2015 PRASHANTH VISHWANATHAN/CARE

Thank you for your commitment to CARE following the Nepal earthquake. What follows below is the latest on our response:

After a second big earthquake hit 47 miles northeast of Kathmandu on Tuesday, the situation is even worse than before in Nepal. In Sindhupalchowk, an area which was already badly affected by the first earthquake, the remaining structures still standing after the first earthquake have now also been destroyed. In total, more than 8,000 people have now died, thousands have been injured and about 700,000 houses have been either destroyed or damaged. According to UN OCHA, over 8 million people have been impacted by the earthquake, and over 3 million are in need of food assistance.

Food, clothing, bedding and household items lay buried under ruins of people’s houses. People urgently need clean water, emergency shelters, medical and psychosocial assistance. Extensive damage has been apparent in Kathmandu valley but the situation in remote areas is of particular concern. In some areas of Gorkha and Sindhupalchowk, over 80 percent of houses have been destroyed or severely damaged. Remote areas are particularly vulnerable and difficult to access. Even during non-disaster conditions travel is challenging, but now roads are completely inaccessible due to severe cracks and debris and landslides. Most of these areas are accessible by helicopter only. With thunderstorms occurring, helicopters are having difficulty flying with the cloud cover in the mountains. Aid workers are also walking for hours to try and reach some villages.

 

How is CARE responding?

  • Relief efforts started immediately after the earthquake hit Nepal. CARE has deployed emergency staff from around the world to join 150 CARE Nepal local staff to scale up the emergency response. CARE has already supported more than 13,000 people with emergency supplies such as clean water, food, shelter, reproductive health and hygiene kits.
  • CARE will focus on areas outside of Kathmandu, as some villages in these areas have been completely flattened and are only accessible by helicopter and relief workers are walking for hours to try and access people who are in desperate need of help. In Gorkha, a rural area near the epicenter of the earthquake, where over 80 percent of the homes have been damaged or destroyed, CARE distributes shelter and hygiene kits that include some items specific for women like diapers for the babies and sanitary napkins, as well as soap, toothbrushes and towels.
  • Women/girls are always the most vulnerable when disaster strike, facing gender-based violence, psychosocial difficulties, malnutrition, etc. CARE is particularly concerned about the 14,000 women who are expected to give birth in Nepal over the next month. An estimated 2,000 of them are at risk of experiencing complications that require emergency obstetric care. CARE is distributing reproductive health kits to villages in Gorkha that include safe birthing kits, essential medicines and supplies for birthing attendants to handle medical complications in delivery. In total, CARE has reached nearly 8.000 vulnerable people in Gorkha so far. 
  • In Sindhupalchowk CARE airlifted food to remote areas.
  • In the Lamjung district, CARE distributed food, hygiene kits and emergency shelter to over 1,200 people and reached more than 4,200 in Kathmandu Valley with food, sleeping mats and clean water. In Dhading, CARE could so far support more than 650 people with shelter.
  • Over the next month CARE plans to distribute weather resistant emergency shelter to 30,000 people in preparation for the monsoon rains.
  • To help meet the specific needs of pregnant women, new mothers and children, CARE is distributing water purification to provide clean water, particularly for pregnant women and children who are susceptible to water-borne illness such as diarrhea. CARE is also distributing family kits and hygiene kits that include blankets to keep children and infants warm, diapers for newborns, and basic hygiene kits that include soap and sanitary napkins and underwear for women.
  • We know from previous disasters that this will be a long-term response, to help the people of Nepal survive the initial disaster, but also to rebuild their homes, infrastructure and lives. As the response evolves, CARE transitions to providing more durable solutions, allowing families to build back safer homes and reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters. We will provide technical support, to help them make changes to the way they build, so their homes are more resilient when the next earthquake strikes. And where necessary, we will provide livelihood support or cash vouchers to help accelerate their own rebuilding process. 

 

CARE has worked in Nepal since 1978, in areas including food Security, HIV/AIDS, health, education, water and sanitation, and the empowerment of women and girls. CARE is very familiar with the regions affected by the earthquake and implements projects in the western and central region.

 
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