For Magar, the landslide in Sindhupalchowk has become a living nightmare. Magar was on his way to the forest when it happened. “The landslide swept me away before I could run to my friends,” Magar recalls. “I froze for a moment, but I knew I had to survive. I tried very hard to move but I couldn’t. I later lost consciousness. I thought I would be stuck forever.”
“I survived that night by drinking water”
Helpless villagers watched from a distance as Magar struggled to free himself from the debris — rescuing him would inevitably mean risking their own lives. As the night approached with no sign of his appearance, they started to believe he did not make it.
Magar, on the other hand, did not give up although he was injured. With survival as the only thing on his mind being, he managed to dig his way out of the rubble after spending for 12 hours under the debris. He made his way to his friend’s vacant home where he stayed overnight.
“I survived that night by drinking water and with the hope that someone would come rescue me. That night was more dreadful than the landslide,” says Magar, his eyes filled with tears.
He was found the next day by his friends who were searching for him. They took him to a nearby health centre. Due to the severity of his condition, Magar was later airlifted to the capital, Kathmandu. The first hospital refused to take him as it was already struggling to deal with many COVID-19 patients. Through the efforts of a Sherpa association, he was admitted to another hospital.
After 10 days in hospital, Magar returned to his village only to discover that his home had been reduced to rubble. Homeless and unemployed, Magar thought that he would be forced to live without a roof over his head.
Support to displaced families
Magar received EU-funded assistance to help him build a temporary shelter.
© People in Need/Nisha Niraula, 2020. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.
Together with PIN’s local partner, Phase Nepal, the “Landslide Emergency Response Project” has supported 100 displaced families with shelter kits, consisting of basic materials such as corrugated galvanised iron (CGI) sheets, plain sheeting, and tarpaulins for the construction of temporary housing.
Besides, Magar and others received non-food items as part of a winterisation package, including a kitchen set, fleece blankets, a sleeping mat, a plastic sack, a jacket, gloves, a woollen scarf, a cap, and a solar-powered flashlight to help keep them warm in the winter months.
“I thought I would never be able to rebuild my home. However, this project has given me a ray of hope. I can now construct a temporary shelter for myself until the government comes up with a more permanent solution. I am beyond grateful for the project’s support,” says Magar.
PIN, in partnership with the European Union, has been supporting vulnerable communities affected by landslides in the Sindhupalchowk, Dhading and Gorkha districts.
As a protective measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the EU-funded aid also ensures access to clean water as well as good sanitation and hygiene for the affected communities. The activities include the installation of gender-segregated community latrines and water stations to provide access to clean and safe facilities and drinking water, together with other hygiene-promotion activities.