Sher Bahadur Sole and his wife Thuli survived the terrifying tremors of the Nepal earthquake but have little doubt their lives were left hanging by a thread in the awful aftermath.
‘Without Tearfund’s assistance we wouldn’t have survived the last few weeks,’ says 70-year-old Thuli. ‘We would have had nothing to eat and with no other help we wouldn’t have been able to build any shelter.’
Thuli and Sher, 80, were in the house they had lived in for 50 years since their marriage when the 25 April quake struck their home district of Makwanpur.
As the walls started to shake, Thuli got out of the house, but Sher, who suffered a stroke a few years ago, didn’t make it and the walls started to collapse around him. Miraculously he survived, but the couple lost all they had, including food and vital seeds needed for the next harvest.
The couple are extremely vulnerable. Even before the earthquake life was a struggle. Then Thuli worked hard to provide enough food, growing crops with her neighbours’ help and making just £5-8 a month selling goats.
The quake left them with little hope but Tearfund is supporting them and other residents in the Tistung area, where 90 per cent of homes have been destroyed.
The couple are living in a temporary shelter and we have supplied them with food, tarpaulins, blankets and cooking utensils. With the monsoon underway, we’ve given them iron sheets to strengthen their shelter, keeping the rain at bay.
Across Nepal, Tearfund teams and those of our partners International Nepal Fellowship, United Mission to Nepal, Share & Care, Rescue Network Nepal and Carnet, have so far helped nearly 58,000 people.
Besides tarpaulins, blankets and cooking utensils, we’ve distributed rice, lentils and salt, as well as hygiene kits comprising soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors and sanitary pads.
Tearfund's also given many hundreds of households water treatment kits and provided 1,900 families with funds to access seeds to plant new crops, a key need as many survivors had spent what little money they had on building shelters.
Thanks to the generous support for our Nepal appeal, we’re looking to start longer term recovery work helping the poorest and most vulnerable.
We aim to train 90 stonemasons to build earthquake-resistant new homes using designs drawn up by our partner Engineering Ministries International.
Families will then be provided with money in three phases so that they can buy the materials they need. This will enable families to choose how to rebuild their homes, and allows for flexibility, as not all homes have been damaged to the same degree.
Other support will include:
- Helping people recover from traumas suffered as a result of the quake through counselling
- Repairs to damaged water systems and toilets
- Preventing the exploitation of survivors by raising awareness of the threat child traffickers pose
Steve Collins, Tearfund’s Country Director for Nepal said, ‘There is still a long way to go, but after three months there are clear signs of progress. Terrific support for our emergency appeal means Tearfund will continue to support those most in need, not just in the months but years ahead.’