The communities we work with need us now more than ever.
PHASE has been running a relief programme and emergency appeal to offer essential support to communities following the earthquakes in Nepal.
On Saturday 25th April 2015, Nepal was struck by a devastating earthquake – recorded at 7.6 on the Richter Scale. This was followed by a second major 6.8 Richter Scale earthquake on Tuesday 12th May 2015.
The Post Disaster Needs Assessment has calculated that US $6.66 billion will be needed for the full reconstruction of all affected communities and homes in Nepal.
Two of the Nepalese districts where PHASE works; Sindhupalchowk and Gorkha, were severely affected by these disasters. Of the 8,900 people that have been officially declared dead nationally, 3,400 were from the Sindhupalchowk district. Over 80% of all buildings in many villages in Sindhupalchowk were completely destroyed, and landslides in Gorkha caused all routes into and within the district to become impassable.
The above map shows the epicentre of the first earthquake, which occurred in Lamjung district, directly west of the Gorkha district. The map also details the locations of the major aftershocks of the April earthquake.
Our Nepalese health staff, who live and work in the remote Himalayan communities, began providing aid within minutes of the first earthquake – staff even dug through the rubble of damaged buildings to retrieve medical supplies.
Two GPs from the UK were volunteering with PHASE in Nepal when the first earthquake struck. Elena Hazelgrove-Planel, from Bristol, was volunteering with our health staff in the Gorkha district. Elena provided medical aid to communities in Gorkha and then travelled to Sindhupalchowk to support our Nepalese staff there. Penny Milner, from London, was volunteering in Rayale in the Kavrepalanchok district, located south of Sindhupalchowk district.
PHASE has long established, trusting relationships with the communities where we work. We have worked in many of these districts for 10 years, placing us in an ideal position to provide both immediate aid and long-term support to the affected villages. We will be working with isolated communities over the coming years. By continuing to provide our sustainable healthcare, education and livelihoods services we will enable them to rebuild their lives, and empower them to break the cycle of poverty.
Follow this link for more photographs of the affected communities taken after the earthquakes.
What has PHASE achieved so far?
Gerda Pohl, one of the founders of PHASE and our Medical Coordinator who is based in Kathmandu, describes how our new partnerships with international organisations, and support from donors, enabled PHASE to provide tents to many communities. These tents have provided temporary shelters for communities during the monsoon season. Tents have also been used as classrooms enabling children to continue to study essential literacy and numeracy skills. They were also used as health posts, ensuring that our health staff could continue to provide care securely and privately.
Children learning in one of our temporary schools. Follow this link for more photographs of our temporary schools and health posts.
Additionally, PHASE has been able to secure the use of helicopters in order to evacuate people to hospitals. This included Bhim, a young boy from Keraunja in the Gorkha district who was suffering from urine retention, and Devaki, who suffered from a vertebral fracture and spinal shock after her home in Sindhupalchowk collapsed on top of her and her family – tragically she lost her young daughter.
PHASE Worldwide Trustees Dr. Dilys Noble and Margaret Lally both visited Nepal after the earthquakes. Dilys visited Sindhupalchowk and observed that, only a couple of months after the disasters, temporary shelters made from tarpaulin were beginning to be replaced with wooden and metal constructions. Margaret witnessed the growing relationships between PHASE and other international organisations, including Caritas Austria and Diakonie.
Below is a breakdown of the relief aid we have provided to the districts of Sindhupalchowk and Gorkha since the earthquake:
PHASE Worldwide’s partner organisation, PHASE Nepal, has now developed new partnerships with a variety of great organisations – including the Australian Himalayan Foundation, Caritas Austria, Caritas Germany, Diakonie, People in Need (PIN) and the UNHCR (also known as the UN Refugee Agency).
PHASE supporters have also volunteered in Nepal to provide aid as a result of the earthquakes. Parun Sekhri, a GP from Manchester, volunteered with us in 2013. He kindly offered to return to Nepal shortly after the earthquakes, and worked with our health staff in Gorkha district providing medical aid.
One of our wonderful Patrons, Brian Blessed, created a short video especially for PHASE’s 10th birthday – celebrated September 2015. Brian emphasises the strength and courage of the Nepalese people.
Looking towards the future…
PHASE has now completed most of its immediate, short-term earthquake relief aid in Gorkha and Sindhupalchowk districts. We are now looking to the future and we have successfully gained significant funds from our new partnerships in order to begin to reconstruct buildings.
Through funding from partnerships, trusts and foundations, and all our many generous supporters, we have been able to to continue our core projects of providing healthcare and education services, and livelihood training opportunities to remote communities in Nepal. Our adult literacy classes are ongoing in Gorkha, and we will begin to deliver more teacher training programmes in eastern Nepal.
It is vital that we continue these sustainable projects alongside our earthquake relief aid, for the communities we support had limited or no access to healthcare, education and livelihood opportunities even before the earthquakes struck.
We are currently running these projects in the Humla district in Nepal’s Karnali Zone, and we hope to expand our work in the wider area. The Karnali Zone is one of the most remote areas of Nepal and there are no roads into or within the Humla district. Humla was not affected by the earthquakes, however, this means that they and other similar districts, are now at the bottom of the agenda for government aid.
PHASE will continue our vision of developing self-empowerment through providing communities with healthcare, education and livelihood opportunities, as well as supporting communities affected by the earthquakes to rebuild their homes and lives.
Interested in getting involved?
There are many ways in which you can enable PHASE to continue to support communities in Nepal. One of the best ways is to make a regular gift – read our Fundraising Coordinator Victoria Turton’s blog for more information about the many benefits of regular donations. You can also make a one-off donation.
If you are interested in fundraising or organising an event to raise support for the communities PHASE works with in Nepal, then please visit our Fundraising Resources page.
If you work for a school, and are interested in learning about or teaching your pupils about earthquakes, then please visit our education and teaching materials page about these natural disasters – which we formed in partnership with the Geographical Association.
If you are keen on cycling or sports and feel like challenging yourself then why not consider participating in our Walk for Nepal: Scafell Pike challenge in the summer of 2017 – led by our ambassador: Alex Staniforth
We would like to thank all of the individuals and organisations for their generous support and hard work – without your help we would not have been able to achieve all that we have done.