When the team first arrived on May 19, Kathmandu was essentially a pile of rubble empty of people, when aftershocks occurred, the Nepalese people would appear in any open space and wait for the aftershocks to end. Now with the passing of time and the fear of aftershocks having subsided, there is now a feeling of hope. The Nepalese people are continue to suffer from the devastating effects of the earthquake and are desperately in need of appropriate shelter as they face the approaching monsoon season.
The first phase of Stage 1 of our deployment has now been completed. 123 tents and associated aid equipment, including building materials, have been distributed to the villages previously identified. This has been a complex deployment given the time and unpredictability involved in travel between the villages. A further problem has been the limited amount of suitable terrain to erect tents, which often requires extensive land clearance to take place beforehand.
Dave Tuzewski and Peter Hazell have returned home and have been replaced by volunteers Di Holland (Team Leader, Australia), Jenny Greer (Australia) and Michael McKeever (Belmont, NC). Their task will be to adapt our deployment to accommodate the impact of the forthcoming monsoon and to use local solutions where possible. A particular issue is that the Nepalese government has placed an embargo on permanent construction in order to set up new procedures to ensure that new buildings are designed to resist future earthquakes. This means that we now have to be thinking in terms of transitional shelter solutions. In most cases, the deployment of more tents is impractical given the transport difficulties and the lack of suitable space to erect them.
The team will therefore be looking at how to provide those in need with appropriate building materials and how these can be best distributed. There is an identifiable need for corrugated sheeting, which has already been deployed by the first team, but the current challenge is how to best source this as it is currently in very short supply.
One option that will be considered is how to best fund local brick making facilities. A further task will be to assess the local water filtration solutions which are more cost effective but heavier to transport than the ones we supply.