Bhaktapur Rotary, Nepal, House Building Program
On Saturday 25th of April, the people of Nepal experienced a massive earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale and the countryside of Nepal swayed treacherously as the earth trembled violently and many fell, burying with them the men, women and children inside. In a country, plagued with poverty, lack of infrastructure and services – there was nobody to call. Panic ensued as every able body dug desperately through the debris with their bare hands, hoping against hope that their buried loved ones were still alive.
In Bhaktapur, the city of devotees, ten miles east of Kathmandu the scene was chaotic. With international rescue efforts still firmly focused on Kathmandu, the people of Bhaktapur were still left largely unsupported and digging for their loved ones when the second earthquake struck just over two weeks later on the 12th of May, measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale. That’s where the Rotary Club of Bhaktapur stepped in.
Over 13,000 homes in Bhaktapur have been destroyed and the sizeable death toll unconfirmed. In the immediate haze of the crisis, the Rotary Club of Bhaktapur and its local members sprang into action to help the local people of Bhaktapur. Initially the Rotary Club established an emergency health camp in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The health camp was staffed with five doctors and treated 266 earthquake victims. Most of the injuries involved broken bones, the administration of saline solution to the weak and free medicine was prescribed and distributed. As the emergency health camp program wound down, Rotarian attentions turned to the vast number of homeless in the city, accentuated in criticality by the fast approaching monsoon season and its unforgiving promise.
The Bhaktapur Rotary Club immediately established an emergency rehousing program, which these proud Rotarians continue to work tirelessly on today and will do well into the future until they achieve their vision; to establish homes for more than 500 families who find themselves homeless owing to the devastating earthquake.
Many houses have been successfully funded and built, mainly through Rotary Club support including donations from the Rotary Club of Dublin Fingal, Dublin Central and Limavady as well as other clubs around the country.
Each home is twelve feet by nine feet but the average size of family being housed today in each is eight. The cost per house is RPS 55,000; the equivalent of €500. With the completion of these 10 houses and phase one, the Rotary Club now wish to progress to the second phase of this rehousing program. The second phase endeavours to house approximately 160 additional earthquake victims. In a recent gesture of solidarity, the Rotary Club of Kathmandu has offered to match donations for up to 25 shelters in Bhaktapur. On this basis, if the Bhaktapur Rotary Club raise sufficient funds for 25 shelters, the Kathmandu Rotary Club will fund an additional 25, resulting in 50 houses.