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Community at the Center of the process of “Building Back Safer”

Posted 19 July, 08:16 pm

July 19 2015, Lochan Shrestha, 28 years old, currently lives with his mother in Sankhu, Sankharapur Municipality. After Nepal’s devastating earthquake, his family house was destroyed.  “We’re a family of five, but we’ve been living separately ever since the earthquake”, laments Shrestha.

One of the challenges Lochan faced is finding available land. His father, who passed away a few years ago, built the previous home for the family. “The land we’re building our temporary home on belongs to my relative. They agreed to let us use it for now.” He adds, “we have to built a new house, but financially we won’t be able to built it now. Against this odd, with the assistance of Centre for Integrated Urban Development’s (CIUD) resources and technical support, we are building a temporary shelter with one bedroom and a kitchen to live in for the next 2-3 years.”

Lochan’s family awaits until they have a stable roof over their head. For now, Lochan inches forward, learning the basic steps in building an earthquake proof shelter for his family. He is learning how to build safe temporary shelter that can protect them from harsh conditions like rain, strong wind and heat. Since the temporary shelter has basic considerations like proper digging for fixing of bamboos, cross bracing of bamboos, and use of proper fixing and jointing of bamboos and CGI sheets, CIUD team ensures that the beneficiaries will be safe from aftershock earthquakes as well.

Lochan’s family is one out of the 13 houses in the ward that CIUD is assisting in setting up temporary shelters in the cluster of Sankhu. After Inside_1CIUD arranged the delivery of bamboo poles and CGI sheets from local vendors to the affected families, Lochan managed to set up his bamboo frame within 2 days. To follow up, CIUD technical field team facilitated an informal orientation to individuals from 5 families. In the orientation session, the local families learned on how to make their temporary shelter safe and strong using locally available materials and salvage materials. As a joint community effort, they agreed on completing Lochan’s temporary house first to serve as a sample temporary shelter for other families to refer to while they start building their own temporary shelters.

This is an example of effective local community participation and also organizational collaboration extended by CIUD team for the needy families in Sankhu. Recovering from a hazard of this scale requires information, resources, and teamwork in which Lochan and other families have demonstrated by their motivation and teamwork.

The step that started from Lochan’s family is certainly ‘ray of hopes’ that leads to the process where the affected people at the community level gain confidence to build their shelters in a safe and cost-effective way.

Source: CIUD