On Anzac Day 25th of April, a 7.9 magnitude Earthquake hit Nepal killing over 8000 people, and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless, vulnerable and scared. The fear of the unknown accentuated further when only 17 days later the country was struck by a very strong aftershock with a magnitude of 7.3, causing a lot less damage but still more loss of life and increasing uncertainty and fear in people’s minds.
The epicentre of the earthquake was 80km from Kathmandu and the capital with its surrounding areas suffered extensive damage. The most destruction and devastation, however, is being witnessed in small, rural villages at the epicentre that have been hard to reach due to the damaged roads and communication lines, and further difficulties with landslides blocking the entries. Tens of thousands of people have lost their homes and livelihoods and continue to live a life with very little to protect them.
Soon after the earthquake Wind of Change board member Dr Paul Steinfort, an expert in Post Disaster Project Management and Reconstruction, was able to visit Nepal to help assess the earthquake response and recovery required. Dr Steinfort’s rapid assessment of the situation confirmed the earlier reports on the nature and intensity of the destruction. For us personally, the most important piece of news from Paul was that after an extensive structural assessment on the property of Onni House, he could verify that the house had remained unaffected and was standing strong. Very fortunately all our projects in Pokhara have remained unaffected by this deep tragedy and we are very grateful for that.