Nepal four months on: planning the rebuild

Two WYG engineers – principal project manager Glyn Utting and senior geoenvironmentalist Simon Eden - have recently returned from earthquake hit Nepal, where they spent two weeks visiting rural communities alongside representatives from Community Action Nepal (CAN) and Article 25.

Simon Eden and Glyn Utting

Together they assisted with damage assessments, both structural and geological, to CAN’s portfolio of projects that have been affected by the earthquakes in May.

CAN is a UK based charity whose aim is to help the mountain people of Nepal. They work in partnership with rural villages and communities to provide local health care, education, income generation, cultural and mountain porter welfare facilities.

"When the buildings fail, the social and economic life they support also fail.We can’t prevent earthquakes, but we can mitigate their impact" - Robin Cross, Article 25

“We are honoured to be supporting CAN,” Utting said, “and working directly with the people of Nepal with the hope of making a difference to help those who have been left devastated by this natural disaster.  We are able to use our skills and expertise to plan for future projects that will help rebuild damaged and destroyed schools and health posts in the most rural affected communities of Nepal.” 

During their visit, Utting and Eden were completely overwhelmed by the attitudes shown by the locals who, even though they have lost entire villages, were going about their daily chores.  Some have attempted to fix their own homes and schools with the hope they will withstand the current monsoon season.

CAN predominantly sponsors and funds schools, health posts and porter shelters across rural Nepal and as a result of the recent WYG visit, three key project opportunities have been identified:

Milamchiguan School and Health Post - This is CAN’s flagship school and one of their earlier projects which had grown into the most successful rural school in the whole of Nepal with 400 pupils (200 pupils boarding from the surrounding districts). Most of the village has been destroyed including the school, boarding accommodation and health post. The current location is good so it would require a new build solution within existing footprint.

Rebuild Langtang Village - The entire village was destroyed by an enormous landslide including 116 homes, a school and health post. In discussions with the surviving villagers the priority is to rebuild their homes and the school / health post can be later projects.

Bharabesi School for the Deaf - This is another personal CAN project. It is the only deaf school in all of Nepal and hence has boarding accommodation. The school and accommodation is damaged beyond repair. The location is good so it would need rebuilding within the existing footprint.

“The devastating impact of the earthquakes in Nepal is a sad reminder of the crucial importance of safe and resilient buildings. When the buildings fail, the social and economic life they support also fail,” said managing director of Article 25 Robin Cross. “We can’t prevent earthquakes, but we can mitigate their impact. Well-constructed buildings can make the difference between many thousands of deaths and zero deaths.”

Over the coming weeks WYG will be working with CAN and Article 25 to scope out the design phase and construction programme following the monsoon season.

See also: Nepal: Building back better – RedR’s report on its work in the country.

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