Sheltering Nepal
September 28, 2015 •
1578NP Nepal Earthquake Update Shelters

Samaritan’s Purse is providing sturdy structures to help residents of the Himalayan nation during monsoon season.

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Binay sits on the rubble of his home in Nuwakot district.

Eleven-year-old Binay Bhujel has the voice of an angel. He sat on the debris from his collapsed home in Nepal and sang about how life goes on after hard circumstances. Binay’s music elicits joy, as does his contagious smile.

“I always feel like smiling,” he said.

When asked what his family needs most since the earthquake in April, he answered with “ghar.”

“Ghar” means “home” in Nepali.

To Binay—like so many others—“ghar” means more than just four walls and a roof. It goes deeper.

“I was born here, and I want to die here,” he said.

Binay lives in Nuwakot district with his mother and older sister, who were in the top floor of their home when the earthquake began. They ran down the stairs and shoved the door open just before the house fell. Binay was already outside and had found safety with friends.

His family is one of hundreds of thousands who lost their homes in the disaster—many left to sleep under makeshift tents. With monsoon season approaching, these structures would be insufficient to withstand the elements.

Samaritan’s Purse has made shelters a top priority of our work in Nepal. We are providing materials and construction training to 25,000 families in need—most living in remote, mountain villages. These sturdy shelters are helping protect them from the intense heat and heavy rains while they rebuild their lives.

Samaritan’s Purse is providing shelter materials to 25,000 families whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the Nepal earthquake.

Samaritan’s Purse is providing shelter materials to 25,000 families whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the Nepal earthquake.

“Shelter is a key point right now because of the monsoon rains,” staff member Daniel Mendies said.

Daniel has helped coordinate dozens of distributions since the earthquake—from food to relief supplies to shelters. He believes the resiliency of the survivors encourages our team’s work.

“For the most part—from the children to all ages—they smile when they have nothing left, and their smile brings a smile to anybody’s heart,” he said. “It’s not because I’m Nepali, but I do love the people of Nepal.”

“It Is Safe”

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Our shelter kits include these corrugated, galvanised iron (CGI) sheets to protect families from the elements.

To reach 62-year-old Balram Bhujel’s new Samaritan’s Purse shelter during the monsoon season, park at the bottom of the mountain, walk over the bridge, step across stones in the river, hike a short distance up a rocky road, and take a path through some woods. When you pass the waterfall, you’re almost there.

His land looks over a valley of rice paddies. Also visible are multiple landslides—due to the initial quakes, hundreds of aftershocks, and the persistent rains.

Balram’s shelter—made from iron sheets fastened onto rounded steel pipes, secured with wire, and finished with tarpaulin on either side—sits just feet from the remains of his old home.

1578NP-B-178-360x240“I have lived here in my house, which was collapsed,” he said. “The shelter has also been the form of a house right now for me because it is protecting from winds, heat, and light.”

Balram, his sons, and brothers attended our training session to learn how to most effectively use the materials and gain knowledge on earthquake-resistant construction. Afterward, they built the shelter together.

Inside is a new bed Balram fashioned out of wood from the forest, a jerry can and hygiene items from Samaritan’s Purse, and other belongings he has made or salvaged. Although he is still afraid of another earthquake, the new shelter has alleviated some of that fear.

“It has helped me a lot,” he said. “When an earthquake attacks, I don’t think this house will collapse. It is safe.”

Balram’s family used CGI, rounded pipes, wires, and our other materials to build a new shelter.

Balram’s family used CGI, rounded pipes, wires, and our other materials to build a new shelter.

Here to Serve

Staff member Sujana Lama teaches hand-washing techniques to schoolchildren.

Staff member Sujana Lama teaches hand-washing techniques to schoolchildren.

In addition to shelters, Samaritan’s Purse is helping earthquake survivors by providing clean water, hand-washing stations, and latrines for schools and tent camps; emergency food supplies and kitchen kits for families; and other assistance to help people recover from the disaster.

As the landslides and heavy rains create additional challenges for our teams in the coming months, we remain committed to displaying God’s love and faithfulness through our work.

“We are here to serve the people of Nepal,” Daniel said. “All things are possible through Christ who strengthens us, right? So for me, that’s what gives me my strength. Nothing is impossible.”

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