At the three months anniversary of the Nepal earthquake (Saturday 25 July), ActionAid UK Head of Humanitarian Response Mike Noyes says that rebuilding homes and livelihoods must now be placed front and centre of the relief effort, particularly in rural areas.
“Eight in ten of Nepal’s people live in rural areas and depend on subsistence farming for a living but it is precisely these areas that have been worst affected,” said Mike Noyes. “The immediate relief stage of the aid operation is ended but families cannot get on with their lives without shelter and a liveable income.”
At least half a million homes were severely damaged or destroyed by the earthquake with many in very poor, hard-to-reach areas. Agriculture too has been badly affected, with crop storage facilities destroyed and Nepal recording significant animal losses.
Mike Noyes continued: “Reconstructing houses is vital, particularly now the monsoon season has started and so is restarting the rural economy. This is an urgent necessity and must be placed front and centre of the relief effort.
“Unless families have safe, dry, secure homes with farmers helped to get their fields producing crops again and livestock herds re-established, then there is a real risk that the earthquake will have a second, delayed, impact, impoverishing farmers and their families for many years to come.”
As part of its commitment to rebuilding Nepal, ActionAid is constructing 5,450 temporary dwellings and is employing a civil engineer and six technical overseers.
While working, the engineers live with communities and deliver blueprints, building advice and hands-on support, with ActionAid providing new building supplies in addition to salvaged materials. Over 950 homes have already been completed that will last for a minimum of two years.
Community members provide the labour and receive a wage under a cash-for-work programme. ActionAid has also started livelihoods support including the provision of 3,300 extra-large storage bins for farmers to store and protect crops.
To date, ActionAid has spent £1.3 million on its earthquake response.