By Chad Loftis
NEPAL - A total of 9,674 families badly affected by April’s earthquake and strong aftershocks have received relief goods. SIM and other agencies partnering with United Mission to Nepal (UMN) have distributed food and living essentials, including 50 kilogram bags of rice, salt, spices, dal beans, oil, sugar, tea, tarps, blankets and hygiene kits.
Shelter and food security remain major concerns in remote areas. Most households have lost their food stores, local markets have closed, and a vast quantity of seeds has been destroyed. This places future food availability at risk as well as the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of farmers.
But a recent report by the Nepal Food Security Cluster indicates that food relief like that provided by SIM and its partners has "played a critical role in ensuring that food insecurity does not escalate further”. In mountain regions where "close to 70 percent of households have poor or borderline food consumption, and close to half have poor diet diversity,” food relief has been especially critical.
UMN has reached 95 percent of its targeted beneficiaries. The five percent of households the team is yet to reach live mostly within these mountainous regions, cut off from the outside world by damaged bridges and roads. Airlifting supplies is often the only option, and this has slowed distribution significantly.
However, the team hopes to complete its target of relieving 10,200 households by the end of this week.
In “phase two” of the relief project, UMN will assist the same households to rebuild their lives and livelihoods with building tools, vegetable seeds and farming equipment through local suppliers. After the rainy season ends in September, UMN will begin providing shelters for those still in need of permanent housing.
Besides the USD 100,000 that SIM is contributing to the immediate
relief phase, an additional USD 50,000 dollars will go towards the rebuilding phase. SIM will assist in the rebuilding of Okhaldunga Community Hospital and the United Mission Hospital in Tansen. Both hospitals are over fifty years old and have a long history of providing affordable or free care to Nepal’s poorest. Together the hospitals care for close to 130,000 people a year.
"Thanks to the generosity of individuals and organisations from around the world," said SIM Nepal director Gabriel Jens this week, "we are part of the rebuilding programme of people’s lives and of infrastructure. It is a privilege to be part of that. This event has changed our lives and the lives of the people of Nepal. Now begins the recovery process as we adjust to the new normal."
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