WINNIPEG, Man.—As the monsoon season begins in Nepal, the main priority for people affected by the earthquake is shelter.
At the same time, by working with our local partners, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is looking at the longer term, and finding solutions to some of the struggles faced by the people in Nepal.
We have worked against time to deliver immediate humanitarian assistance to rural and remote areas. The window of opportunity, especially in isolated areas is rapidly closing; heavy rains often trigger landslides, making travel to these areas much more difficult.
Earlier this week, through our partner Shanti Nepal, MCC delivered metal sheeting to 459 families in the community of Darkha in Dhading district of central Nepal.
These roofing materials are particularly useful because they can be used as temporary roofing and also repurposed for long-term housing.
The earthquake significantly damaged almost all the houses in the community of Darkha, and many people are using salvaged materials and tarps to build temporary shelters. Others are staying in sheds their animals once occupied.
Mark Epp, the new program director for MCC Canada, recently visited Nepal to assess and plan our ongoing response.
Ultimately our goal is to build earthquake-resistant housing and train local people on improved building techniques.
“We want to support rebuilding in a way that leaves people less vulnerable,” he says. Epp oversaw the earthquake response in Haiti where MCC also placed a significant emphasis on training local builders in improved techniques.
MCC photo by Luke Reesor-Keller
The government of Nepal estimates over 505, 000 houses were completely destroyed in the earthquake with nearly 280,000 houses left partially damaged.
MCC was able to respond quickly and effectively from the beginning because our partners and staff were on the ground when the disaster struck.
We have delivered food, household items and temporary shelter throughout Okhaldhunga, Darkha and Lalitpur.
In addition to meeting urgent needs, MCC is planning a three-year response. We, and our local partner organizations, are actively coordinating with government and other organizations responding to the earthquake. This helps prevent overlap and focus assistance on where it is most needed.
MCC is also working with our partner, Koshish, on a program to respond to the mental health and trauma issues in earthquake-affected areas.
“We’re trying to work as carefully as possible to use the resources wisely,” says Epp. “We ask for people’s continued support and prayers as MCC Nepal and partners continue their response.”
MCC is thankful for your donations. We have received approximately $3 million designated to our earthquake response as of June 23. So far we have used over $300,000.
Please consider donating to our ongoing emergency relief work in Nepal.