Earthquake relief efforts in Nepal are giving way to activities focused on rehabilitation projects that will ensure Heifer participants are in more stable shelters where they can securely store belongingings, including grains and other foodstuffs, and also escape the heavy monsoon rains.
And the need is urgent.
On Monday, Heifer Nepal's Country Director, Shubh Mahtato, said a huge landslide had blocked the Kali Gandaki river, which posed a threat of flooding to eight districts, six of which include Heifer project work. The water level had already risen 300 meters, but the dammed water founds its outlet about 16 hours later, and the river took its course. The river flow was heavier and some of the houses at the river bank flooded, but there was no substantial damage.
"Though the potential risk has been minimized, the threat of landslide remains along the fragile mountains. We do anticipate a difficult monsoon this year and the public warned to be alert," Mahato said.
One month after a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook the country, damage is still widespread. Until now, Heifer focused primarily on providing temporary housing materials including tents, tarps, foam mattress rolls and ropes and other supplies to approximately 21,500 families in 12 districts. Members of Heifer project Self-Help Groups and Cooperatives played a key role in immediate relief support before government or other assistance arrived, as well, ensuring distributions went smoothly and each family received some support.
Now, because of the wide range of needs, Heifer Nepal has established a revolving fund for communities in four districts that saw the worst damage. This approach will allow the communities to identify the most immediate needs and make joint decisions about how to best distribute funds.
The revolving fund will support pre-approved activities that will be co-created by Heifer and the community. The fund is interest-free for two years. Participants will begin to pay back the funds 12 months after the initial period, and all money will stay in the community to provide continuous support in the future. Cash flow in the communities will help boost the local economies, as well.
Livestock needs are also a priority for Heifer, and we are working to secure funding to replace lost livestock, to rebuild animal shelters and to provide adequate food, fodder and water for livestock.