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Nepal: one month on

One month after a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal and destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes, Habitat for Humanity will soon start construction of permanent houses.

“We will begin building the first 100 permanent homes in the heavily damaged district of Kavre in the next two weeks,” said Martin Thomas, Habitat for Humanity Australia, chief executive. “This is just a first step. We hope to rebuild thousands of homes in Nepal for families who have lost everything, but this depends on how much funds we can raise.”

Since the disaster struck, Habitat for Humanity has mobilised hundreds of volunteers and staff to remove rubble and debris from damaged and destroyed homes in affected communities. Salvaged materials, including bricks and woods will be used in future reconstruction efforts.

“Our focus is getting families into permanent homes as soon as possible. This is crucial to Nepal’s recovery,” said Mr Thomas. “Along with construction of permanent housing, Habitat for Humanity will be distributing transitional shelter kits to affected families. These kits contain materials that can be reused for permanent house construction at a later stage.”

Habitat for Humanity’s transitional shelter kits cost roughly $310 and contain materials such as corrugated galvanised iron roofing, steel tubing, re-enforcing rods, fixings and tools. An estimated 5,000 shelter kits are planned for distribution in the next two months.

During distribution, Habitat for Humanity will provide technical support on how to construct safe shelters and how to use materials to ensure they can be reused for permanent house construction.

The earthquake of 25 April and subsequent aftershocks, along with the following 7.4-magnitude earthquake on 12 May has damaged or destroyed more than 750,000 homes in Nepal. Thousands of people in Nepal continue to sleep outdoors, fearful that unstable structures may collapse from further aftershocks. These families will be even more vulnerable as monsoon season approaches in Nepal, making shelter an even more critical need.

Habitat for Humanity has already started sending engineers to conduct technical assessments of houses that withstood the earthquake to see if families can safely return home, and is also distributing water backpacks to displaced families to transport and store drinking water. These efforts will continue in the coming weeks.

We are seeking additional funding for our Disaster Response Appeal as we plan longer term new home construction programs.

Click here to make a tax-deductible donation and help families who have lost their homes in the earthquake.

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Habitat for Humanity urges donors to make cash rather than in-kind donations. We are unable to accept or distribute goods donated by the public to communities affected by disasters. As part of our disaster recovery work, relief items are purchased locally or as close to the area as possible. For maximum speed and flexibility, and to ensure we supply the most needed aid materials, donating money is the best way to help people affected by an emergency. This empowers people to buy what they need the most and support local business.

If you wish to electronically transfer money into a bank account please email [email protected]

At this time, Habitat is not considering volunteer opportunities in Kathmandu due to the logistical challenges in the earthquake-affected areas. Volunteers will be needed most during the recovery phase and Habitat is currently assessing the damage and determining need for volunteer opportunities. If you’d like to register your interest in assisting in possible future rebuilding efforts, contact [email protected].

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