The national crisis caused by the earthquake of April 25 has pushed seven hundred thousand people to poverty in Nepal revealed the Post Disaster Needs Assessment. As per the Human Development Report (2014) poverty prevalence in Nepal is 23.8 percent. The National Planning Commission is afraid that this poverty level is expected to go up 3.5 percent.
It’s not just the poverty level that has increased but the mental health of the people is badly affected in many places. Psychiatrists are of the opinion that people are struggling to live normal lives. People are still reeling under intense fear and anxiety. For some the condition has exacerbated to mental illness.
A large number of people have suffered multiple losses, combined with physical exposure to danger and are now without resources. People have been terrified by the initial quake and continue to suffer acute anxiety with continuing aftershocks. Two quakes on April 25 and May 12 killed over 9000 people and destroyed more than 500,000 homes, affecting an estimated 2.8 million people across Nepal, reported a national daily, Kathmandu Post.
Given the above scenario, SCNs continue to give psychosocial support to people especially women and children through various programs. They organized special psychosocial training with the help of experts in this field for the teachers, staff and volunteers to help themselves and the people.
Sisters completed distributing tin sheets and corn seeds for 302 families in six wards after meeting the immediate needs following the quake on April 25. Most of the people have been able to put up temporary shelters. The pre-monsoon showers are beginning to set in.
Basanti Lakra, SCN, Provincial of Patna Province along with the SCNs Aisha Kavalakkattu, Lisa Perekkatt, Malini Manjoly, and Rajni, a ‘come and see SCN Candidate’ from Patna visited the two Koshidheka child-friendly centers and met the teachers of Koshidheka school. She thanked them for their support, collaboration and assistance in carrying out the relief works in their area. She also visited Jhamire village where the entire houses were ruined in the April 25 earthquake. SCNs are considering making this place as a model village. People are cooperative and collectively they worked to build their temporary homes. Family members who used to live in nuclear families now live together for safety, protection and to reduce cost of building separate homes. Though the entire village was in ruins people have been able to clean up much of the debris to begin a new.
Some of the Jesuit volunteers from India are residing in these villages in tents to help the Sisters and their staff to carry on the relief work in Koshidheka, Palanchowk and Karelthoke. The SCNs and the Nepal Jesuit Social Institute work in collaboration with each other in Koshidheka area in Kavre district.
Jesuit volunteers surveyed each village for the number of members in each family and number of schools and health posts, (primary health centers). They also took note of the number of people who lost their lives, livestock, people who are injured, loss in both moveable and immovable property and the number of single women who head the families. Extra food and other supplies were given to single women, the aged and the people who lost their family members. Documentation was done for the immediate requirements of food and other supplies, tin sheets and vegetable seeds. They also helped to demolish many badly damaged houses in various villages.
Sister Basanti distributed to the people buckets, mugs and water purifying medicine (piyush) for safe drinking water. One of the families served lunch for the sisters.
Written by Malini Manjoly, SCN