Nepalese population terrified of new earthquakes

Nepal’s population stay in open air during night fearing new shocks after another severe earthquake hit Nepal Tuesday. Mission East provides shelter and clean drinking water.

”The population is terrified by earthquake that struck Nepal on the morning of May 12. People were running into to the streets and open areas where they remained for hours. Many of them stay overnight in parks and streets or anywhere they can find a place. They are afraid of other and bigger earthquakes,” tells Peter Drummond Smith, who coordinates Mission East’s relief work in earthquake-stricken Nepal.

The country had not yet recovered from the earthquake April 25 when another severe shock hit the impoverished country. Tuesday at 12.55 local time The US Geological Survey registered an earthquake measured 7,3 on the Richter scale. The earthquake which two weeks ago killed 8,000 people, injured 14,000 and made 300,000 people homeless, was 7,8 on the Richter scale.

Mission East is assisting 30,000 people in nine villages in the Sindhupalchowk District, some of which are only 20 kilometres from the recent earthquake’s epicentre 86 kilometres northeast of Nepal’s capital Kathmandu. Here people are terrified by the severe earthquakes and the more than 150 aftershocks they have experienced during the last two weeks.

“Every day people live in fear of new earthquakes striking the country. This is why they don’t dare to live in the ruins of their houses. They are sheltering in temporary structures built using the  tarpaulins we have distributed along with rope, jerry cans, cups, soap and water purifier. The temporary shelter is after all more secure than their houses, where the constructions are shaken,” says Peter Drummond Smith.

And soon a new disaster awaits the distressed population.

“The monsoon will start within a few weeks with the risk of flooding and landslides. We are fighting against time to help people before the monsoon starts. We distribute tarpaulins and rope so people have shelter and we provide clean drinking water to avoid epidemics from spreading, Peter Drummond Smith explains.

There is a particular risk of epidemics when rain water mixes with mud, water from the sewer and bacteria from livestock that died in the first earthquake. At the moment the work is all about securing shelter and hygiene, Peter Drummond Smith points out:

“We advise the population against rebuilding their houses while the ground is as unstable as it is at the moment. It is also not possible for them to build with water and clay during the monsoon. But afterwards they need assistance in rebuilding their houses so they are more secure in the future.”

Mission East has extensive experience with disaster risk reduction in the mountains of Neal and will of course draw on this expertise.

“There are rather simple methods in creating a structure making the houses more resilient against future earthquakes. Mission East will provide this help. But the needs are so great that we need all the resources we can get. We are well underway with the aid and we will have enough to do the upcoming months, even several years ahead,” Peter Drummond Smith says.