In the morning of the 25th April 2015, the district of Gorkha was shaken by a 7.8 earthquake that killed more than 8,000 people, and injured more than 21,000. It was the worst natural strike to hit Nepal since 1934. Not only were people in this area affected, but major damaged was sustained in the Kathmandu area and there were avalanches on Everest and in the Langtang valley. Aftershocks are still continuing, and there is the risk of another quake, but the people continue to live in the areas where their houses were destroyed, as they have nowhere else to live.
As such, we want to provide structures that will resist quakes in the future and ensure that these vulnerable communities will have somewhere permanent to live. To date, the Government has been slow to dispense the 200,000Rs (£1419.86) that it promised to each family from the International Aid budget that was given for the recovery. As a Non-governmental organisation, we are in the unique position where the money we raise can go directly towards helping those communities that have been left with nothing.
The village of Kulgaun, in the Village District of Saurpani, lies 160km from Pokhara, 35km to the northeast of Gorkha, and was 3.5km from the epicentre of the April 2015 earthquake. As a result, all buildings in the village were destroyed and four people were killed in a landslide while they were out in the woods. Days after the quake, the village was given no direct aid from the government or international Aid agencies. After the quake, two MT volunteers visited the affected region and found the community leader, who begged them to help his people. Nearly 9 months on from the earthquake, most of the villagers still lived in temporary shelters made of tin sheets and tarpaulins, which were donated by an another NGO. There are approximately 260 people living in 57 houses.
After a meeting with the villagers of Kulgaon, MT, in partnership with Islamic Help, committed to help the villagers to rebuild their 57 houses. MT provides materials (house frames, tin sheets, cement, etc.) and technical support in order to erect safe and earthquake resistant housing.
Click here to get the latest update on the building process.
The Village of Lamagaon lies in the Gorkha district, approximately 110km from Pokhara (5 hours driving time). The local school was condemned by the government after the April 2015 earthquake but no funding was given to ensure the refurbishment of the building. When delivering Emergency Relief Aid in May 2015, MT volunteers were approached by one of the teachers at the school, asking for help to rebuild the school. As such, the Jeevan Jyoti Primary School was chosen as a rebuilding project for The Mountain Trust, in conjunction with Islamic Help. During the building process, the 65 pupils were being taught in a temporary structure of tin sheet and bamboo.
Work began on the project in October 2015, with the foundations being dug by two UK volunteer builders. The first quantity of materials was delivered on 10th December, which included the earthbags, reinforcement bars, tools, barbed wire, steel plate, and cement.
We used the earthbag technique to build strong and earthquake resistant walls. The earthbags are laid on top of one another and kept in place with barbed wire. At cill, lintel and roof level, a concrete beam was laid to ensure stability for the wall. After attaching wire mesh to the walls, plasterers were hired to cover the earthbags. The roof was designed by John Kearsey, and his use of anchor plates at each corner has meant that the load of the roof is kept of the walls. At the direction of the Department of Education, a disabled access ramp has been also built.
Now the building itself has been completed, we are looking into constructing a water tank for the school, as well as rebuilding the old school building that was structurally weakened as a result of the quake.
For the latest update on the build check out our Project Updates page. If you’d like to lend your expertise to this project, then find out more on our Volunteering page and help these communities rebuild their lives.