Nepal earthquake: One family's story in pictures

By: 
CARE
Sunita and Uttam B.K. with their daughter Amrita and son Bibek, in front of their house made from corrugated iron sheets.

On 25 April 2015, a massive earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck central Nepal, causing widespread destruction. It was followed by several aftershocks and then a second 7.3 magnitude earthquake on 12 May, causing further casualties and damage.

Since the first earthquake, CARE has been working in four of the worst affected districts, prioritising the needs of the most vulnerable people. Sunita, Uttam B.K. and their family live in Barpak district in Gorkha, Nepal. They belong to the Dalit community, considered in Nepal to be of a lower caste, and often discriminated against in Nepalese society. This is their story.

Village in ruins after earthquake
A view of the destruction caused by the earthquake to Dandagaun village in Barpak. The village used to be on a tourist trekking trail, bringing valuable income to the villagers, but has been declared unfit for reconstruction due to the ongoing risk of landslides.
The new settlement of temporary homes
The Dalit community became landless after the earthquake and have constructed temporary housing on land that belongs to the government. CARE will be working with community leaders and government officials to find solutions to housing, land and property issues for people affected by the earthquakes (see our report Housing, land and property issues in Nepal and their consequences for the post-earthquake reconstruction process).
Sunita and daughter inside their shelter
The winter season was particularly challenging for people who had lost everything during the earthquake. CARE provided warm clothes and blankets to the people of Dandagaun. The photo shows Sunita and her daughter Amrita with blankets provided by CARE.
Sunita cooking on a wood-fired stove
Fuel shortages are a problem for people who cannot afford cooking gas. CARE has provided affected people with fuel-efficient cooking stoves that use firewood.
Sunita collecting water from a water point
Access to safe drinking water is one of the major problems faced by people in Barpak. The settlement where Sunita's family now live did not previously have a source of water, so CARE has supported familes with jerry cans and buckets so they can collect water from the nearest water source.
Men standing alongside the water tank
We have also provided a water tank and pipelines to connect the tank to the water source. This tank serves 120 households in the Dalit community.
Amrita brushing her teeth
Amrita brushes her teeth. CARE provided hygiene kits which include basic sanitation items like toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap.
Sunita and son washing their hands
"I tell my children to wash their hands before every meal," says Sunita. "It is important for them to learn about good hygiene from an early age." As well as distributing hygiene kits, CARE conducted door-to-door hygiene promotion to raise awareness on sanitation and hygiene.
Amrita brushing her hair to get ready for school
Amrita getting ready for school. Her school was destroyed by the earthquake and she is now studying in a temporary classroom made from iron sheets.
School children queuing
Amrita, dressed in a warm jacket provided by CARE as part of its winterisation support, queues with other school children to pay homage to the goddess of knowledge during the annual festival of Saraswati Puja.
Uttam at his vegetable farm with plastic sheeting greenhouses
Uttam has been supported to rebuild a livelihood through training on vegetable farming, equipment and seeds. "I want to make Barpak a self-sustaining organic vegetable production hub," he says.
Uttam on his vegetable farm
"This land was fallow and unused before I started to farm here," says Uttam. "The owner of the land leased it to me with a verbal agreement to return 100 kiwi fruit to him every season." CARE will be working with households like Uttam's to advise them on housing, land and property rights.
Sunita working on the farm
Like almost all women in the community, Sunita cooks meals for her family, looks after her children, and helps out on the family farm.
Amrita, Bibek and their grandmother
Bibek and Amrita with their grandmother. With CARE's wide-ranging support, families like these are being supported to build back a safer and more prosperous life.

Story and photos by Grishma Raj Aryal, CARE Nepal communications officer

CARE's response

Since April 2015, CARE has assisted nearly 200,000 people from nearly 40,000 households. More than 138,000 people benefited from shelter assistance including tarpaulins, blankets, mattresses and solar lamps as well as training on how to rebuild homes. More than 128,000 people benefited from access to clean water. More than 100,000 people benefited from livelihoods support including cash-for-work, cash grants and/or support to start their own businesses and grow their own crops. We also trained birth attendants and provided women and adolescent girls with reproductive health kits; and provided psychosocial and legal support to survivors of gender-based violence.

More than one-quarter of CARE’s earthquake response in Nepal was funded by donations from the UK public and by grants from the UK Department for International Development. Thank you so much for your support.

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