A temporary shelter in Hagam, Sindhupalchok
Two years ago today disaster hit Nepal. Two of the regions that PHASE Nepal works closely with were among those most affected by the earthquake: Gorkha - the epicentre, and Sindhupalchok. Sajjan, a PHASE staff member who grew up in Hagam, Sindhupalchok and still works in the region remembers: “Most households were changed by PHASE Nepal, but the earthquake brought everything back to the beginning.”
In the last two years PHASE has accomplished so much. Within hours of the earthquake, PHASE Nepal teams were providing emergency aid and care to those injured. After the first few days of emergency response PHASE led teams to the villages and delivered aid based on the needs of each village. Sunita a PHASE Project Manager recalls: “there was a shortage of metal sheets needed to construct temporary shelters and we used to queue for them, it was very hard, then we figured how to get sheets from India. We had trouble arranging transportation. All the helicopters were engaged. We would go to the airport very early and queue to be able to send materials to the villages.” Despite all these difficulties, PHASE Nepal was able to provide 13,000 families with direct emergency relief.
Bikash started working at PHASE Nepal as an Assistant Education Trainer in 2013. We asked him a few questions about his experience of the earthquake and what has changed in the last two years.
At the time of the earthquake, he recalls: “My own house was broken but I felt that I should come to the office. I came and saw that the entire operation had moved out to a tent. I stayed two hours and then went to my home village to see family. On the fourth day after the earthquake, PHASE started buying materials and setting out to help. If there was no PHASE Nepal, I would have dwelled on my own emotions but because PHASE exists my emotions were focused on being able to help. I would come to office at 7 am, and then go to a village to distribute emergency relief and not be back until to 1 am.”
It has been 2 years since the earthquake, what has changed in your life?
“After the earthquake there were tremors, and my family slept for at least two months in a tent in the field.” Our house was damaged, but PHASE provided a hardship allowance and by the first anniversary of the earthquake we had mended our house and slowly life has begun to return to normal.”
Since the earthquake, Bikash has celebrated three big family events: his two sisters have gotten married, and he and his wife have welcomed a new baby. At work, Bikash says the earthquake was an opportunity to challenge himself, step out of his comfort zone and show what he was capable of. “Prior to the earthquake I was working on one project and I am currently working on over twelve,” Bikash says. After the earthquake, he became project coordinator and most recently in February 2017, he was promoted to project manager.
What has changed at PHASE since the earthquake?
“PHASE’s goal is to provide integrated development through health, education and livelihood. Disaster relief after the earthquake was a new experience, but I think we were very successful. Many people who supported PHASE during the earthquake became interested in what we do; many new donors and organisations have connected with PHASE and continue to support us and that is why projects have expanded and we are working in many more villages.”
PHASE Nepal’s central office has returned to relative normalcy even if the pace and extent of activities has increased. Many of the projects PHASE is managing today are related to earthquake recovery. Here are a few of the activities that PHASE Nepal has accomplished and is continuing to work towards two years on from the earthquake:
- 600 toilets have been constructed across Sindhupalchok region since the earthquake.
- 400 water taps have been built in Sindhupalchok
- 65 km of trail are being reconstructed in Gorkha
- 200 Temporary Learning Centres constructed across regions affected by the earthquake
- 8 classrooms have been rebuilt using earthquake resistant methods
- Construction will begin on 2 permanent schools this year
- 3 Health Posts have been rebuilt - 2 in Gorkha and 1 in Sindhupalchok
- 50 teachers were trained in post trauma teaching
All of this has been possible by generous donations from our supporters. PHASE Nepal continues to rely on donations to help fund our sustainable Health, Education, and Livelihood projects and earthquake recovery efforts. On the occasion of the second anniversary of the earthquake all donations to PHASE Nepal made today will be doubled by Global Giving – please support us if you can.
Bikash, Project Manager at PHASE Nepal