Integral has 20 of its Members responding to the Nepal earthquake. Nathalie Fauveau, Medair’s Emergency Communication Officer, has recently returned from Nepal. Here she shares with us some of her experiences ..
What were your impressions upon arriving?
The fear in people due to the aftershocks and another earthquake; seeing so many people who chose to live outside out of fear that their home would collapse.
Where did you go and what did you do?
Our shelter and WASH relief distribution targeted Sindhupalchowk District. We distributed tarps, ropes, jerry cans, water purification solution, buckets and soap in the emergency phase of our response. As the monsoon was approaching it was crucial to get the Nepali people who had lost their homes (collapsed or too damaged to ever be inhabitable again) under some kind of shelter from the rain and the cold.
What was a highlight for you?
I visited a family of about 25 (aunts, uncles, cousins), who were all living under 3 tarps, in Bhotechaur VDC (see photo). They had all lost their house, their cattle, their stocks, everything, basically. Still, when I went to see them, they insisted on serving me tea and feeding me some of the last cookies they had left from a pack that was given to them. I cannot imagine a more generous and hospitable people, that would think of others in its time of utmost need.
A comment about the work of Medair
We heard so many people tell us we were the only ones who had come to help them, or the only ones who had brought pertinent relief (some organisations distributed food and clothes when the first need was shelter).
A comment the value of the alliance collaboration
Thanks to Integral we were able to partner up with Mission East for distributions, and Tearfund and United Mission to Nepal for common needs and WASH assessment in isolated Lapa VDC. It’s great to be able to share the work and share the experience with other organisations which share the same values.
What you felt on leaving / hope for the future
I felt that I was leaving halfway through something great. Being able to help the Nepali people but not see the project through is very frustrating. But I know Medair is doing a great and necessary job there, and I am looking forward to hearing about how the earthquake victims have been taught how to rebuild new and solid houses that can withstand further catastrophes. I also hope that the children will be able to go back to school soon as school is their only hope for a better future.