Be Independent Home Care are delighted to be supporting a project in Nepal that is helping provide safe accomadation for the Elderly in Nepal following the recent devastating earthquake. An Irishman Stephen O’ Brien is the International Coordinator of the project and has written the following piece: For further information please visit Rotary’s website at www.rotaryclubbhaktapur.org
“In affluent Western societies people talk about the problems of ageing populations, they discuss about the financial burden to the state or to the families, they see the elderly as a problem to be managed at least cost. In Nepal, one of the poorest countries on the planet, where people live in large extended families of three and sometimes four generations, the elderly are not seen as a problem to be managed but hold honored positions in the family, where their wisdom is revered and where they are consulted on all important decisions.
Just before noon on April the 25th, without warning the earth suddenly started to shake violently and thirty seconds of terror, death and destruction changed the lives of these families forever. Their beautiful but fragile homes many of them hundreds of years old collapsed into piles of rubble. Because the earthquake happened at midday when most of the people were out of the houses the death toll was not as high as it would otherwise have been, but the destruction of the dwellings and the resulting homelessness is on a biblical scale.
The international community and the big aid agencies responded quickly, Kathmandu Airport, the only international airport in Nepal remained open and the emergency relief aid started to pour in, food, medical supplies and tents. Tents may be fine in Haiti or Darfur but with the extreme climatic conditions in Nepal these frail elderly people cannot survive for long in tents. The heavy monsoon rains are now sweeping up from India and the families concern for their elderly relatives, many of whom were injured when their homes collapsed, is turning to panic.
Bhaktapur a once beautiful U.N. World Heritage City of almost eighty thousand people was devastated by the earthquake with the majority of the dwellings collapsed and thousands more damaged beyond repair. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake thousands of families fled the devastated city but the majority of the homeless families who remained are now being accommodated in tents.
The Rotary Club of Bhaktapur with their local knowledge and understanding of the difficulties the families in the tents are facing especially the extremely vulnerable situation of the elderly people have initiated a project to provide suitable shelters for these families. The shelters that Rotary are providing are constructed of steel frames with corrugated iron cladding and brick floors, these are designed to withstand the extreme climatic conditions in Nepal and also to provide the families with the level of comfort and security they will require until their homes can be rebuilt, which because of the massive level of destruction may take several years, The cost of each of these family size shelters is 550 dollars or 500 euros and Rotary International have agreed to match all donations so that a single donation of just 500 euros will provide homes for two families and keep them safe until their houses can be rebuilt. For further information please visit Rotary’s website at www.rotaryclubbhaktapur.org