Student - August 13, 2015

Meanwhile in... Nepal

Koen Guiking,Koen Guiking

In the news: Nepal was hit by a devastating earthquake in April 2015. There was a national action day in The Netherlands to raise funds for Nepal, and Nepalese students and PhD candidates in Wageningen also organized various fundraising events. How is the situation now?

‘Immediately after that first big earthquake there were a lot of NGOs that raised money for Nepal. We, the Nepalese Student Society Wageningen, did so as well. We chose to donate that money to the Prime Minister’s Earthquake Relief Fund. I think that was a good decision. During the initial relief campaign many organizations were going into Nepal to help. It was not so coordinated. Now the government has taken control. Every organization that wants to do recovery work, has to go via the government. That is working quite well, I think. ‘There are still many aftershocks in Nepal. But people are getting used to it. Every shock with a magnitude under 5 on the Richter scale is shrugged off as if it was just a little tremble. People have become really resilient.

‘The rainy season has interrupted the recovery process. It is impossible to build houses at the moment, so 40,000 people are still living in tents. My grandmother’s house was among those destroyed and she is renting a place temporarily. After the rainy season, she will build a new house with the help of the family. All the people who lost their homes have received a grant of around €1800 from the government for constructing temporary houses. And the banks are also providing them with soft loans.

‘When the earthquake hit, I was in Vienna for my thesis. I haven’t been home since. But my time in Wageningen is almost over. I am flying back to Nepal soon.’