During the earthquakes of 2015, nine-year-old Mikmar was trapped like many other people. In the ruins of his parents' house, he survived between stones, soil, beams and furniture, until his father could get him out of the collapsed building. Externally Mikmar seems to be unharmed, but whenever he sees a house today, he gets an eerie feeling of being trapped accompanied by tension and fear. In our projects, we help especially children like Mikmar (as well as adults) to overcome their traumatic experiences.
The district of Sindhupalchowk, north-east of the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, was one of the most affected regions. A few days after the first earthquake struck on 25th of April, volunteers from Johanniter were able to assist hundreds of injured persons across the district. An eleven-man Johanniter emergency response team arrived on site and set up a temporary health clinic in Sindhupalchowk, treating injured and sick people who had not received attention as yet. According to the United Nations, more than 600.000 homes were destroyed along with hundreds of hospitals and schools. In the weeks after the disaster Johanniter helped affected families by distributing relief supplies such as blankets, tarpaulins, mattresses and hygienic articles.
Johanniter has continued to engage with victims in the years following the disaster. We have supported victims to help them understand and process their distress and thus prevent long-term psychological consequences. Like Mikmar, the two massive quakes traumatized many people in Sindhupalchowk. The shock, the loss of relatives and neighbours and the sudden destruction of their homes have generated feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. In conversations, children and adults were able to talk about their experiences, to find a way to express their fears and to manage the trauma. They have been accompanied by specially trained employees of our local partner organization GMSP.
For children who lived through the traumatic experience of the earthquakes, it was particularly important to restore a semblance of normal everyday life. Hence we have rebuilt three schools in Sindhupalchowk District with the financial support of the Losito Kressmann-Zschach Foundation. These offer kids a safe place to learn and play, and are stocked with new teaching materials and toys. Johanniter recently launched a new project to rebuild damaged health posts in neighbouring Dolakha District. Until today – nearly two years after the disaster - we continue to implement projects to improve lives in earthquake affected areas, with a focus on health care, livelihoods and disaster risk reduction.
Overview: Earthquake in Nepal
- Heavy earthquakes plaque Nepal on 25th of April and 12th of May
- 8249 dead, nearly 18000 injured and more than 2.8 million homeless people are the result of two of the strongest earthquakes in the country's history
- Volunteers of Johanniter traveled directly into the disaster area after the first earthquake and provided medical attention