ROTARY ROUND-UP: Rotary in action – the Nepal earthquake

Shelters adapted by enterprising families
Shelters adapted by enterprising families

This week, David Chapman, from the Rotary Club of West Worthing, gives an update on the latest and future goings-on.

Nepal was struck by its worst earthquake in almost a century on the morning of Saturday, April 25, 2015.

Significant aftershocks caused further damage.

A second earthquake of 7.3 magnitude struck on May 12.

It was the worst natural disaster to strike earthquake prone Nepal since 1934.

The earthquake killed over 9,000 people and injured more than 23,000.

Hundreds of thousands of people were made homeless with entire villages flattened across many districts of the country.

Centuries old buildings were destroyed at UNESCO World Heritage sites.

The earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, killing at least 19 souls, making April 25, 2015, the deadliest day on the mountain’s history.

It also triggered another huge avalanche in the Langtang valley, where 250 people were reported missing.

Rotarians were quick to respond and teamed up with the IMPACT Foundation, which has a long experience of work in this area.

West Worthing Rotarians went out on the streets of Worthing and collected £2,500 towards the disaster relief effort.

At a recent West Worthing Rotary Club Meeting, IMPACT worker Jackson Medlow-Stagg update the club on how the funds were used.

The IMPACT foundation was founded in 1985 by Sir John and Lady Wilson supported by their daughter, Claire Hicks, who set our to eradicate the blindness and other needless disabilities that are endemic in the poorer countries of the world.

Sir John Wilson was himself blind but still won a scholarship and graduated from Oxford University and devoted his life to working for disabled people.

IMPACT is known for the ‘Life Line’ express, the world’s first hospital train, that takes medical services to the poorer and underserved communities in India.

IMPACT also works to address the same problems in many other countries of the world including Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Cambodia and Zanzibar to name but a few of the countries in which they work.

They work from modest offices in Haywards Heath.

IMPACT was able to assess the situation after the earthquake and could see that many large aid agencies were distributing emergency aid in Nepal, but the tarpaulin tents, excellent for shelter in emergency situations, would not be adequate when the imminent monsoon rains arrived.

IMPACT gave its attention to finding more substantial shelter solutions for the many homeless families.

Thanks to the funds raised by the Rotary Club of West Worthing, IMPACT was able to provide some corrugated galvanised iron homes for displaced and vulnerable familes in Kalika in Sindhupalchowk District.

Although simple and ultra basic in structure, these shelters, through local ingenuity, were quickly adapted to make them more comfortable and weather proof as temporary homes.

Local people expressed their appreciation.

Villager Purushottam Pahari said: “I was in Kathmandu when the earthquake struck, but my family was in the village.

“I must say it was fortunate that it happened on a Saturday afternoon because my kids were out playing with their friends and most of the villagers were out too.

“I was really scared for my kids and rushed back as soon as I could. Our house was completely destroyed so this shelter is very important for us.”

Another villager, Binda Poudyal, said: “I was grazing my cattle when the earthquake happened. My husband was home. He fell and broke his leg.

“We were living in a makeshift shelter but we could see that the tarpaulin was flimsy and would not last long.

“This shelter from IMPACT Nepal is very good and is a relief at a time like this.”

West Worthing Rotary Club President Sue Virgo said: “We are pleased to have had a long association with IMPACT, helping on a number of projects, knowing that the money we raise goes direct to those most in need.”

If you would like to know more about the IMPACT Foundation, visit their website – www.impact.org.uk

Details of Worthing’s three Rotary clubs are:

• Worthing Rotary Club meets Monday, 12.55pm, at the Chatsworth Hotel, in The Steyne, Worthing, 01903 262222.

• West Worthing Rotary Club meets Tuesday evening at Tudor Close, Ferring, 01903 501961.

• Worthing Steyne Rotary Club meets Monday evening at The Ardington Hotel, in Steyne Gardens, Worthing, 01903 234957.

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