Oct 032015
 

Living under a tin roof is not easy - and many are missing their old home. Belimaya is just one of those mourning the loss of her old house...

What’s it like to lose your house? To many villagers in the earthquake affected districts, it was indeed a huge economic setback. It costs at least 500,000 rs. – or around 8,000 USD – just to build a traditional house in clay and stone, at least in Palanchok, Kavre. Building a modern house in brick and concrete easily runs up in three times that amount! But besides the economic loss, the destruction of one’s house – to many the home of not only one but several generations – is still a deeply emotional issue. In the video opposite, Belimaya Shrestha, 64, shares her feelings. Continue reading »

Sep 212015
 

Life under a tin roof is not easy. But by September, villagers in Palanchok - like in so many other villages - were starting to get organised. Watch the video to see how.

Villagers in Palanchok, Kavre, were hoping for the best. A Japanese-funded NGO pledging in May to rebuild 60 to 65 houses, however, did not return. It did clear some rubble with a dozer, following the villagers’ hard work of manually demolishing their house ruins. But after that no NGO showed up. By September, everybody was busy setting up temporary tin shelters instead. Watch how a family is getting back into some type of everyday rythm in the video opposite – it’s life under a tin roof, so common in thousands of villages at this time.

Watch the same family working hard and full of hope here, in May when the NGO had arrived. Continue reading »

Jul 252015
 

Family during a break in the rubble of their destroyed house, telling about the NGO that might come...

Palanchok is just one of thousands of villages trying to move on after the earthquake. Expecting an NGO with Japanese funding to come and rebuild their houses, villagers are in a rush to clear their land of rubble and debris. We followed one family on a long day of hard work as they were removing stones and wooden beams from what’s left of their home. Staying under a tarpaulin – five weeks after the earthquake – they were full of hope that the NGO would indeed return and start building them a new house. It’s more hope than most villagers are afforded – but will the NGO really deliver? We’ll soon bring more from Palanchok. Until then, here’s the family, clearing the rubble with nothing else than hand tools.

May 202015
 
"Clapping like hands" - the devious crack that narrowed in but goes deep under the hill...

“Clapping like hands” – the devious crack that narrowed in but goes deep under the hill…

Cracks are warnings of more landslides to come, and in Palanchok, Kavre, they fear the worst. On the ridge in ward 6, everybody’s worried about the cracks that opened up during the quake. Birman Pahari saw it happen: “In seconds my workshop collapsed. I managed to run out in time – but then the hill started splitting. It was clapping like two hands. The two sides were vibrating at different speed, closing and separating… and the crack was wide enough for a child to fall into it.” The gap then narrowed but it’s deep, and only one of many on the ridge. When the rain starts pouring in, will the ridge be undermined and come crashing down the slope in a huge landslide? Villagers are taking no chances – they are relocating. The same threatening situation is facing so many other villages. It’s a disaster bound to happen, predicts a nurse who just saw hundreds of similar cracks from a helicopter in Dolakha. The race is on to detect the danger before the rain starts…also in Palanchok.

May 112015
 

Before the earthquake hit Palanchowk village in Kavre: Dashain happiness

Before the earthquake hit Palanchok village in Kavre: Dashain happiness some year back

The ridge in Palanchok, Kavre district, has been our favourite destination for weekend trips for years, and we’ll always be coming back. But it will never be the same – not in the near future, at least. Situated on a beautiful ridge with green valleys on both sides, Palanchok is home to a sacred goddess and to locals who always welcome visitors with warm hospitality. Now, 90 percent of the village is destroyed. Staying warm and dry during the cold nights, when the ridge is covered by low clouds, is the most immediate issue. Rebuilding the houses is an enormous challenge long-term. These images of before and after the earthquake illustrate why. Continue reading »

May 102015
 

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It’s just one of thousands of villages. But it’s the one we have visited the most. The earthquake destroyed almost all the houses and left the rest damaged. What next?!

It was a beautiful, thriving village – until 25 April when most was turned into rubble. But already now, some villagers are trying to rebuild – what support will they get from the outside, how much, and how fast?!

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The rain is coming! There is little shelter, a crack has split the ridge, landslides may await. How will locals get through the hardship – and how will they ever rebuild?!

We’ll follow the struggle for recovery in Palanchok over the next many months – not only because we know this village well, but also as it illustrates the plight of many others.

Continue reading »