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25 April 2016 – One year on from the earthquake

25 April 2016 - Nepal marked the first anniversary of the devastating Gorkha Earthquake by remembering the thousands of people who lost their lives. The biggest earthquake in eighty years left 9,000 people dead, more than 22,000 injured and three quarters of a million families’ homeless last year.

One year on and nothing has been done by the government for the thousands of people in Kathmandu who lost their homes and are living in temporary shelters of tarpaulin and corrugated sheets in various open spaces around Kathmandu. Out in the districts most badly affected by the earthquake tens of thousands of people are still in makeshift shelters, with the monsoon approaching their prospects are not good.

The people are becoming increasingly frustrated and angry with the governments total lack of action to rebuild houses and other essential buildings. They have endured the earthquake and last year’s monsoon and now this year’s monsoon is imminent, as well as the continuing aftershocks, and most of the temporary shelters are inadequate.

Today, 25 April 2016, government ministers have made symbolic gestures for rebuilding various Hindu Shrines damaged by the earthquake. This will increase the frustration and anger of the people who want homes rebuilt. Some protest by the people against the government’s total lack of action was evident on the day.

People around the country, who have started to rebuild their houses themselves together with assistance and funding from various organisations outside of Nepal, are now being threatened by government officials that if their houses are rebuilt without conforming to the yet to be published ‘Proposed Government Standards’ then their houses may be demolished yet again.

On a personal note all is well with the family house at Kapan and life is returning to something like ‘normal’. I have been able to make a visit to Khumbu this season up to Tengboche Monastery. It was very good to see all my Sherpa friends again and to come up to date with their situations. Khumbu has not had any government assistance, as indicated in earlier reports, the Sherpa community in Nepal and out in other countries, have assisted with the funding efforts. Yangji’s parent’s house in Chaurikhaka village has been rebuilt and all around the village, which was badly affected, rebuilding is taking place. Further up in Tengboche rebuilding is taking place on some of the Lamas houses and damage that occurred to the Monastery roof has been repaired and completed.

Sherpa houses in the Khumbu have traditionally been two floors made of stone with the ground floor used for animals and storage and the top floor for living space. The rebuilding, that I observed, is taking a slightly different form, the ground floor continues to be stone and used for animals and storage but the top floor is a wood structure with thin metal sheets on the outside and some insulation between. It does appear that this design has been developed to reduce heavy stone walls collapsing again in living space. All very interesting but I guess only time will tell!

Back in Kathmandu Boudha Stupa is slowly being renovated – see separate section – although the Boudanath Area Development Committee is a government department, the renovation work is being undertaken by many volunteers from the Sherpa community, and others, who are slowly cleaning the area and rebuilding as required.

One year on and my own memories of the day of the earthquake are flooding back. ( The day was recorded in earlier news items) Fortunately no one associated with us was injured and all was well.


Denis Gallagher
Nepal Trekking
April 201