Open Mic Nepal Newsletter
“There really needed to be a system where the most trusted sources of information—local media—can also tap into these international sources of information, and make a connection back to the people.”
- Indu Nepal, Internews project director in Nepal, where Internews and partners developed the OpenMic project after the earthquake to debunk rumors, and address factual misinformation, as well as investigate why certain rumors are so popular.
Thank you very much for your support of our response to the Nepal earthquakes. We were able to achieve so much because of you. Long after the Nepal earthquakes have faded from the headlines, Internews is still putting your dollars to use to support the recovery process. Notably, we are continually running OpenMic Nepal and the #quakehelpdesk project which gathers the information needs of the affected populations, identifies rumors, concerns and misinformation…and counters it with factual, useful information. Information is collected from volunteers and partners who work extensively on the ground, verify the information and present it in these reports to support the work of humanitarian agencies and local media.
OpenMic Nepal is presented by Internews and #quakehelpdesk implemented by Accountability Lab and Local Interventions Group.
This project is helping people rebuild their communities and their lives. We are so immensely proud of this project and grateful to you for supporting it. We’ve just published our 26th Newsletter and Open Mic Nepal report. You can view all of the newsletters here: http://internews.org/our-stories/project-updates/open-mic-nepal
Building back better
After the initial disaster, Internews was on the ground helping people get the information they needed to reconnect with family members, access humanitarian aid, and decide whether or not it was safe to go outside. Now, Internews is helping Nepal build back better. The affected populations continue to have needs and concerns which need our attention. Here are just a few of the question and concerns captured by the OpenMic Nepal project over the last few weeks.
The government released the new procedure for the disbursement of the grant of Rs 200,000 or the cost of building a house, whichever is less, in December last year. Families who lost their houses in the earthquake and do not have an alternative place to live in qualify for the grant. While building houses, households have to abide by the new construction guidelines – and people all around the country have questions and concerns about the process. Open Mic Nepal has gathered and answered questions such as:
"What kind of houses will those who have a small plot of land build?"
- NALANG BAIRENI, DHADING
"Affected people may not be able to build houses according to the government’s guidelines. What can be done then?"
"How are the villagers going to know about the house designs if they are uploaded only on the Internet? They have to bring and teach about the designs in the villages.”
They have also heard rumors. "They say that since the loadshedding hours are increasing, every new house must install solar panels. The government is already providing such panels to the earthquake affected. Households can pay the cost in five years. The interest rate too is only at 2 percent.”
"We heard on the radio and read on papers that the Reconstruction Authority could not be formed because the political parties in the government and in opposition were fighting each other. Why would leaders behave like that? Aren't they accountable to people at times like this?"
-HARTHUMKI PAKHA GAUN, KAVREPALANCHOWK
During winter, exposure to extremely cold weather and lack of appropriate protection can cause hypothermia, which could lead to death in some cases. According to the Ministry of Health 1500 adults are estimated to die of hypothermia each year in Nepal. OpenMic Nepal has gathered and answered questions such as:
"They say people have died from the cold in many places. How are we going to save ourselves from the cold?"
The government has signed agreements with around 88 international and national organizations to reconstruct around 692 schools destroyed in the earthquake. The government has also signed an agreement with the Asian Development Bank to rebuild schools. The schools are selected on the basis of damage as assessed by the District Education Offices. Organizations in the education cluster are distributing winterization kits to school-going children in affected areas. The kit contains a jacket, hat, trousers, socks and a pair of tracksuit. Parents still have concerns about their children, and have concerns such as:
"The damaged schools are not yet reconstructed and children are forced to study at risk."
“The cold weather has affected the school operations and the attendance of students."
We’ve seen questions and concerns like these crop up in communities across Nepal. And, because of you, we are able to answer them. Thank you again for your incredible generosity and support of our mission.
Credit: Indu Nepal/Internews