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Livelihoods return to those affected by Nepal floods

March 20, 2018

By Mike Ziemerink

PWRDF has contributed 20,000 Euros ($27,318 Cdn) to help with the response to the devastating floods that ravished the Morang district of Nepal in August 2017. Thanks to the help of PWRDF’s partner, Lutheran World Federation (LWF), PWRDF’s contribution of funds has helped those affected by this flooding begin to get back to a normal life.

Torrential rainfall began on August 11, 2017 and ravaged the area for three days, causing flooding on a massive scale in the Morang district and other surrounding districts. Unfortunately, 19 lives were lost in the flooding, two people went missing and more than 3,100 were displaced, according to the district authority. The community also suffered from the loss of crops that had been stored over the year, as well as more than 800 livestock, greatly diminishing the ability to generate food and income.

Shanti Karmakar was at home preparing dinner for her family when the floods struck. Her husband was still at work at the time and it was very difficult for her to escape the fast-moving water with her daughters on her shoulders.

“I faced a lot of problems while saving my small daughters along with few clothes for them. I saw all the villagers were running on the church nearby our village, I also followed them carrying my small daughters,” she said.

The response by PWRDF’s local implementing partners, local government, and the District Disaster Relief Committee (DDRC), began life saving support. The LWF initiated a rapid assessment and determined that the most urgent needs of the Nepalese people were:

  • shelter
  • increased access to safe water and basic sanitation
  • restoration of livelihoods and food access

Safe shelters were built immediately in Morang district where 95 families received grants for materials, as well as access to repairmen who assisted the community in rebuilding their own homes.

Ganga Karmakar’s home was completely washed away in the flooding. She received a grant and access to assistance in building a new shelter for herself and her family. Ganga praised the work of PWRDF’s local partners on the ground, including LWF Nepal. “Lutherans brought happiness in my family and also, awareness for the better preparedness for future to face such disasters.” In all, the 95 family shelters provided 318 people with a safe place to live.

Relief workers use a boat to deliver aid.

After the flooding, clean water and basic sanitation was a must. Local partners came up with a plan to install new sanitation facilities. Toilets and washing stations were installed in 113 households and four schools. These facilities will also receive continuous maintenance and repair, ensuring they will remain operable. PWRDF’s partners on the ground, with the assistance of the locals, were also able to build 53 raised hand water pumps to ensure that those in the Morang district would have access to safe and clean water.

“I am feeling more comfortable than before in the settlement since we got better CGI roofed shelter, got easy access on safe water and household toilets in each household,” said Mano Mudiyari, a long-time resident of the area who lives with her eight family members.

Many community members lost their entire livelihood in the flooding, and PWRDF partners wanted to make sure this community was able to sustain itself even after relief teams had left. From this idea, the cash-for-work programs were created. These programs enable people to receive an income in exchange for community-rebuilding labour. The income that the families received from these cash-for-work programs helped to restore their livelihoods and went toward educational support for local children.

When the rainfall plummeted the area, floodwaters entered the village from the bank of a small river called Bhaluwa. In response to this, a cash-for-work program was set up to build and maintain a dam on the river to prevent this from happening again. This gave the community both the chance to earn an income and to be part of the solution.

“Repairing the check dam at the bank of Bhaluwa not only helps the check dam repairmen, but also became a good opportunity of employment,” said Gulabi Karmakar, an area resident.

“Now, we are safer than before with this check dam.”