Securing shelter for landslide-affected families in Nepal

Published: Mar 17, 2021 Reading time: 3 minutes
Securing shelter for landslide-affected families in Nepal
© Foto: People in Need

People in Need (PIN) has received humanitarian funding from the European Union to provide emergency housing and basic aid to people in landslide-affected parts of Nepal. Together with PIN's local partner, Phase Nepal, the “Landslide Emergency Response Project” has supported nearly 2,000 vulnerable people affected by landslides in the districts of Sindhupalchowk, Dhading, and Gorkha. 

One of the project beneficiaries is Dhan Maya Sunar, 60, who suffers from blindness in her left eye. She lives with her 54-year-old husband, Dhan Bahadur Sarki, in the village of Pokharidanda in the Gorkha District. Their daughter is married and lives with her husband’s family, while their elder son works in Kathmandu. The couple’s younger son lives in a shed about an hour on foot from their current residence, as there is not enough space to accommodate him in the family home. Besides agriculture, the only source of family income is the little money the elder son earns in Kathmandu.

As part of development work being done by the municipality, construction began on a road just above where Sunar and Sarki live. The poorly planned and improperly executed road construction, along with the heavy rainfall during this year’s monsoon season, caused a landslide that washed away one side of the couple’s house. Luckily, the couple survived the disaster.

After the landslide, Sunar and her husband moved into a small shelter made of plastic tarps and old, rusted, tin sheets. Sunar says: “Most of the time it is just me and my husband here. Along with the harsh weather conditions, I am afraid of wild animals attacking us. The shelter is not strong enough to protect us from wild animals."

The shelter was tiny and had barely enough space for cooking, sleeping, and storing a few necessary items. Though their old house was unsafe, they still kept most of their household items and food there.

Sheets and tarpaulins for temporary housing

The ward office provided the family with corrugated galvanised iron (CGI) sheets, but the couple didn’t have enough money to buy the remaining construction materials or hire someone to help them repair their home, so they remained in their temporary shelter. After learning of their situation, the PIN project team provided the couple with shelter kits consisting of basic materials such as additional CGI sheets, plain sheeting, and tarpaulins for the construction of temporary housing. They were also given blankets, a mattress, clothes, and kitchen utensils. Sunar was finally able to build a better temporary shelter with two rooms that can keep her family safe from the harsh weather and wild animals.

"My oldest son came from Kathmandu for a visit and we built the shelter together. I am very happy that the shelter can accommodate my whole family. This is only possible because of the support provided by your organisation," says Sunar. "We are not sure when we will be able to construct our new house. Until then, at least we have a safe place where we all can stay together."

Autor: Ran Subba Gurung, PIN Nepal Field Coordinator

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