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Urban Relief in Kathmandu: Tents To Nepal

June 30th, 2015

swayambhunath.jpgIn addition to ongoing work in some of Nepal’s hardest-hit rural areas, #TentsToNepal projects are also underway in Kathmandu. The largest #TentsToNepal community shelters to have been established to date are the Swayambhunath IDP (Internally Displaced Peoples) camps, close to the famous Swayambhunath Temple, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Despite the structural damage that was caused to the Swayambhunath Temple during the April 25th earthquake, many have come to seek refuge and shelter within its grounds. It is estimated that at least 7,000 people are also living in similarly vulnerable on the outskirts of Kathmandu.

City dwellers who have lost their homes face very different challenges to those in rural areas. These displaced residents are struggling to share community shelters, where tensions arising from caste and privacy issues have, in some cases, become a major challenge.

To alleviate these difficulties, #TentsToNepal have designed innovative IDP shelters with sub-sections that can accommodate four families of approximately 6 people, with the option of further divisions for privacy. This is a unique and innovative solution to support peaceful co-existence as the residents prepare for the long monsoon ahead.

These seven Swayambhunath IDP camps have been established as a collaboration between Friends of India (providing transport, volunteers, materials and storage), Hugging Nepal (providing bamboos and tools), and #TentsToNepal (donating the canvas). The same teams also collaborated to build five IDP community shelters in Champi, a village that lies on the outskirts of Kathmandu.

Langtang Refugee Camp

gompta.jpgSix large IDP shelters have been established at the Yellow Gompa Monastery in Kathmandu, where the remaining 488 villagers of the northern region of Langtang are taking refuge for the monsoon.

The villages in the Langtang Valley were extensively damaged during the April 25 earthquake: Langtang village was completely destroyed, and all 150 surviving families from the Langtang area have suffered tragically high losses. Once the rains are over in September and relocation plans are made, they hope to return to begin the task of rebuilding their lives. #TentsToNepal have initially dedicated 20 yurts for this purpose.

In the meanwhile, to support Langtang’s families where they are, #TentsToNepal set up four IDP shelters in collaboration with an NGO called Sustainable Steps. Each shelter is large enough to accommodate 20 small tents, providing shelter for approximately 60 people. An additional two IDP camps were set up at Yellow Gompa Monastery in collaboration with Hugging Nepal for another 6 families from Khugin Gompha, the last village of Lang Tang Valley.

Donations of blankets, food, and essential supplies that came in our second shipment from The Green Nest Nepal Relief Fund, the GD Goenka School and friends of ORGANIC INDIA were offered to these families, as well as the residents at the Swayambunath IDP camp.

Durbhar and Balmandir Schools

In addition to these IDP camps, a number of transitional classrooms have also been set up in Kathmandu.

In collaboration with ABARI, Friends of India have set up three #TentsToNepal transitional classrooms in the yards of Old Durbhar School, one of Kathmandu’s largest educational institutions. Here’s a great 40-second time lapse clip showing how it’s done – if only the shelters could be put up as fast as this! In real life, these shelters take approximately 48 hours to complete.

highschool.jpgThrough a collaboration with ABARI, Friends of India, and BASS, two #TentsToNepal transitional classrooms are now also functional in Bal Mandir’s school and orphanage for the Nepal Children’s Organization (NCO). Special thanks to the school teachers and volunteers, who showed up for the build and even paid for additional needed resources from their own salaries.

Bamboo Research & Training Camps

ABARI is coordinating several more projects around Kathmandu with canvas donated by #TentsToNepal. This week ABARI signed an agreement to work with the Kathmandu University, Department of Science to research and promote the use of bamboo as a construction material across the country.

In Chitwan a cultivated bamboo forest is providing a large amount of bamboo for constructions in the area. This is where ABARI recently conducted an educational training program for a large number of NGO’s and Relief Organizations. Another Volunteer Camp is currently underway until July 15, jointly organized by ABARI & Believers with the Karmi Initiative for volunteers coming together to support the rebuilding and recovery for Post Earthquake Nepal.

ABARI been refining the yurt designs that are more suited for high altitude areas and have been showcasing them Nepal’s Pulchowk Engineering Campus. See this 20 sec time lapse setting up a yurt.

Right now, ABARI teams are preparing bamboo frames for more than 40 yurts that can be set up as soon as the next truckload of our #TentsToNepal canvas arrives next week. We’re sending our prayers for their safe passage and for all the people still to receive shelter.

Our heartfelt gratitude to all who have donated funds and supplies and continue to send their blessings - thank you for your ongoing #LoveInAction!