Nepal earthquake six months on: unrest and approaching winter worsen the situation
Since the introduction of the new Nepalese constitution, political friction has led to unrest in Nepal’s Terai region. Six months after the devastating earthquake, blockades on the border between India and Nepal are making the aid efforts of the Order of Malta’s worldwide relief agency, Malteser International, increasingly difficult. “The trucks with our building materials have been at the border for six weeks,” reports Arno Coerver, the agency’s Country Coordinator in Kathmandu, “There are lines of vehicles between 7 and 11 kilometres long. We need to get these materials to outlying villages which all lie at an altitude of between 700 and 2,000 metres as soon as possible.”
Faced with the onset of winter, Malteser International is preparing further aid measures for the districts of Sindhupalchok and Kavre, northeast of the capital. “During the winter the snowline drops to approximately 2,000 metres, which will affect some of our projects,” continues Coerver. Winter shelters are being built in cooperation with locals and will be equipped with a solar light, as well as a smokeless stove for heating and cooking. Building and insulation material, winter clothing, blankets, mattresses and staple food items will be distributed to an additional 1,250 families in situations of special need.
In the six months following the earthquake, Malteser International has provided 70,000 people with aid, with a total project volume of around 1,000,000 euro. More than 10,000 families – around 62,000 people – were provided with staple foodstuffs, hygiene articles, tarpaulins, and toolkits, as well as given help to clear the rubble from their homes and villages. Since May, almost 7,500 sick and wounded people have received treatment at the Malteser International supported field hospital in Lamosanghu near to the Chinese border. Alongside the rebuilding of houses and community centres, as well as medical care at a field hospital, the focus of this aid will be the provision of further medical stations and teams, the repair of water supply systems, the provision of psychosocial support and projects to provide a livelihood for affected people.