AN INTREPID mum from Rugby who returned to a village at the epicentre of the Nepali earthquake has called for more long-term help for the survivors.
Hayley Lloyd, 41, who works for development charity Practical Action, based in Bourton-on-Dunsmore, travelled to Ghachok village high in the Himalayas six months before the earthquake hit, to see first-hand the work that the charity was doing to improve lives in remote communities.
She returned two weeks ago to see how the rebuilding work was progressing in the aftermath of the disaster and was shocked at what she saw – thousands of women and children still living without permanent shelter and running water.
Hayley, from Bilton, said: “When I returned to visit the people we had helped, the village was no longer standing. I was told that help didn’t reach the village for a week and the families had nothing but tea to survive on.
“One young mother I met was walking to collect water from the local reservoir. She would drop her jug off in the morning and return at the end of the day to collect it – it would take eight hours to fill. This water would not be enough for her family’s needs and so she would then have to do a two hour round trip to collect more from another water point.
“People are still traumatised and devastated and desperately need help. Aftershocks are continuing every week and people still panic when they happen.
“However, the work Practical Action is doing is helping people recover in the long term. Our staff have been busy training masons to help the rebuilding process and provided emergency food and shelter, seeds and equipment for farming so they can grow crops and sell excess produce, but there is so much to do.”
A million people lost their homes and over 9,000 were killed in last year’s disaster. Ghachok village is located in the Gorkha region which was the most severely affected part of Nepal. In this village alone 2000 people lost their homes and the damage to infrastructure has delayed the delivery of building materials.
In one village near the epicentre, Practical Action built an earthquake-resistant emergency shelter complete with toilets where families can stay safe when an earthquake hits in future.
Water pipes have been repaired and wells installed to reconnect communities to the local water supply. The charity is also training local builders to build earthquake-resistant houses and helping people to grow crops that they can sell to get themselves back on their feet.
The Practical Action project is helping 5,000 people to get their lives back on track.
Visit www.practicalaction.org for more information, or to donate.