The people of Nepal have always had to prepare for the yearly monsoon season. Mending roofs, securing shelter and making sure there is enough food in stock in case roads become blocked is the harsh, yet normal reality for thousands of families throughout the country. Even a ‘normal year’ of heavy rains can lead to more than 400 deaths, mainly due to landslides, floods and diseases.
But this year is not a normal year. Children and families have already had their bout with natural disaster. Normally it is monsoon season, but this time, it was twin earthquakes, followed by hundreds of aftershocks. The earthquake took an emotional toll on children, and now they must worry about what will come next when the monsoons arrive.
More than 3,000 individuals and even more thousands of families lost their homes in Dolakha.
One such area that was significantly impacted by the earthquakes and will see worsened conditions as a result of the looming monsoons is Dolakha, a mountainous district northeast of Kathmandu, and the epicenter to the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that struck on 12 May. As a result of the two major earthquakes, more than 3,000 individuals and even more thousands of families lost their homes in Dolakha.
Building shelter ahead of the monsoon season
The impact of the earthquakes becomes strikingly clear as we make our way through the winding, narrow roads of Dolakha and we pass ruin after ruin of houses, schools, stores and health clinics.
“My parents and I were busy repairing our roof in time for the monsoon season when the first earthquake hit. Our house was destroyed,” says Rajip* (10). Living in Dolakha district, Plan Nepal has set up a temporary learning center so children whose schools were destroyed can resume their education as quickly as possible. Rajip has just finished his first class of the day and is playing football with his friends.
“When the second earthquake hit I was out collecting bamboo sticks for the temporary shelter we were making. I was up in a tree and when the quake started, I jumped down and just sat on the ground. The trees were dancing. When we came back we saw that the wall of our house had collapsed.