Nepal earthquake – schooled in disaster

May 20th, 2015

In February 2015 a group of university architecture and design students travelled to the Shree Jalapadevi school in Nepal to help design better sanitation facilities.  A visit to the school site on the 18th of May after two serious earthquakes (25th April and 12th May) revealed the extent of the physical destruction and human trauma.

Schools across Nepal are closed for a month as families attempt to build/find emergency shelter before the June July wet season commences.

A brief meeting with the distraught Headmaster and Deputy Head noted:

  • the one month closure of all schools and most local industry (sand mining and gravel extraction)
  • of the 565 children attending the school, 6 died in the earthquakes 
  • all 20 teachers and their families are OK 
  • the canteen manager and family are also OK 
  • ALL staff (including the Head and Deputy Head) lost their houses. 
  • parents are very scared to allow their children near the school, let alone inside the relatively new school building.

The surrounding area has had the most severe destruction seen on the entire trip, which has included many of the hardest hit areas.
The Melamchi Guest House (the accommodation for the February design studio) is one of the few surviving building in the nearby Melamchi village. 

HH has assured the school that the original teeth and toilet project will continue when local staff are able to return to work.

In the short term, HH and our Rotary partner has contributed resources to the families of the children who died and school staff and their families for basic food and shelter supplies.

Rotary has been partnering HH and raising funds to help Nepal and it is proposed to spend some of this money on temporary class room / tents to allow kids to return to school whilst the main building is assessed for structural adequacy and (hopefully) repaired not replaced.

This is not a happy tale but the Head and Deputy Head wanted the students involved in the February design workshop and all the generous donors to know that they value your contribution and believe the toilet and teeth project is now more important than ever. It is now likely that the proposed improved school toilets and associated wash areas will need to serve the wider community until village housing can be rebuilt.

CLICK HERE to see a brief photo report which needs little explanation. WARNING the images may be upsetting to many.