Friday, November 13, 2020

People in Need and partners supporting landslide survivors in Nepal

 In the mountainous regions of Nepal, this year’s monsoon season has triggered 44 recorded landslides in areas that are still trying to rebuild from the devastating earthquake of 2015. So far in 2020, some 64 people have been killed and more than 1,700 families have been displaced in the Sindhupalchowk, Dhading, and Gorkha districts – all while coping with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a press note issued by People in Need (PIN).

Unfortunately, Nepal has not succeeded in effectively mitigating landslide risks, with haphazard road-construction and climate change making the situation worse, it reads, adding that in addition to death toll, the landslides have also caused severe damage to property, devastated livestock, and wiped out arable farmlands.

Krishna Bahadur Newar, who found his home in Barhabise, Sindhupalchowk swept away by a recent landslide, said that it was really difficult for him to think about the incident. “The loss that I suffered is unfathomable,” he said, adding that the sudden landslide not only took away his home and property but also his wife, leaving him and his injured son all alone. “I was frightened and furious at the same time for losing everything.”

In response to the landslides and with humanitarian funding from the European Union (EU), People in Need (PIN) along with its local implementing partner, Phase Nepal, launched the ‘Landslide Emergency Response Project.’ The project team was amongst the first to respond to the recent landslides, deploying immediately after they occurred to carry out an identification and mapping exercise in close collaboration with local officials. The aim was to assist the most affected people with their immediate needs. 

After the landslides destroyed crops and arable land, damaged livelihoods, and swept away homes and possessions, the survivors were left in urgent need of dignified support, including emergency housing and basic aid. People in Need, together with our partners, immediately distributed emergency shelter, non-food items, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), dignity kits to vulnerable households affected by landslides across three districts, focusing on people with disabilities, pregnant and lactating women, the elderly, and female-headed households, the press note reads.

“During the pandemic, we dispatched our team to the affected districts with an eye toward the Covid-19 situation,” it reads, adding that the needs of the people it met ranged from shelter and enough clean and warm clothing, to essential provisions for new-born babies. “Consultations with locals indicated that they feared further torrential rains amidst the Covid-19 crisis.”

One hundred households were identified as internally displaced, and were prioritised for emergency assistance with temporary shelter kits, consisting of basic materials such as corrugated galvanised iron (CGI) sheets, plain sheeting, and tarpaulins, it adds.

Head of Programmes for PIN Nepal Dan McNamara, explains the urgency of the situation, “Five years on from the devastating earthquake, landslides continue to hit the most vulnerable.”

Unable to return home, families without safe shelter and secure livelihoods are left behind to pick up the pieces, he said, adding that emergency shelter and WASH provisions allow families to get back on their feet at a time of immense uncertainty, exacerbated by the current Covid-19 pandemic. “PIN and the EU Humanitarian Aid's support is just the start, with much more needed if landslide survivors are to secure a dignified and meaningful recovery.”

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