Kathmandu, 13 May 2015 - In the wake of the earthquake that took place on 25 April in Nepal, the Government of Japan has decided to support UN-Habitat’s humanitarian response for shelter provisions prior and during the forthcoming monsoon. On 12 May, the Government of Japan announced a USD 800,000 Emergency Grant Aid through UN-Habitat to provide assistance in the districts of Sindhupalchowk, Dolakha, Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur.
The urgency of humanitarian assistance is underscored by the fact that rains and thunderstorms have already started in Nepal, with the monsoon due to arrive in the next four to six weeks.
Another severe earthquake of 7.3 on the Richter scale hit Kathmandu and the areas west of it again yesterday, while the UN-Habitat team was assessing the damages identifying the target village development committee in the District of Sindhupalchowk.
Several heavy aftershocks followed. By the end of the day, at least 48 people were confirmed killed as per initial reports, adding to the death toll of 8,150 as of 11 May.
Community support for the most vulnerable
The Japanese shelter assistance is particularly targeted to 1,200 extremely vulnerable families, including nursing mothers, pregnant women, female-headed households and the very poor, including 600 emergency shelter provisions with materials that can be used in permanent construction later.
Community support will be mobilized by setting up ten "shelter kiosks" in the various districts; meeting points for humanitarian shelter support now and for information on safe rebuilding in the next phase of recovery. After the monsoon, the shelter kiosks will coordinate other support, including for water and sanitation and community infrastructure.
The programme will be complemented by UN-Habitat's existing WASH interventions supported by the Global Sanitation Fund. "Make-shift on-site shelters are very exposed to falling debris,” said P.S Joshi, the UN-Habitat representative in Nepal. “Meanwhile, people prefer to stay in these shelters near their damaged homes within their neighbourhoods. Support toward safe self-recovery is urgent as the most recent earthquake reminded us all again."
UN-Habitat has already started to reach out to many badly affected neighbourhoods in semi-urban areas. It has assembled a group of 100 volunteers, who include architects, engineers, nurses and most importantly young people who want to help. UN-Habitat provides them with technical orientation.
Following on this immediate support, UN-Habitat will use the assistance of the People of Japan to set up more organized initiatives and targeted shelter assistance through the shelter kiosks.
More humanitarian support is critical. Through the Flash Appeal, UN-Habitat and its immediate partners seek to raise more funding for shelter, WASH and early recovery.
UN-Habitat is engaging with the national Government on formulating the recovery and reconstruction policy as well as on standards to build back better. Meanwhile, it empowers communities to promote self-recovery through community planning, training and coordination with local governments.