GURKHA EARTHQUAKE Down Memory Lane

Published by UNICEF, the book 'Under the Tent', a photo book , brings back the memory of the devastating earthquake

Dec. 16, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.10, No.9, December. 16, 2016 (Poush 01,2073)

The devastating earthquake of 2015 is a history for some. Many others might have forgotten the devastation and pain caused by the earthquake. However, a book launched by UNICEF recently shows how the earthquake had devastated Nepal and how people suffered the pain and agony during the earthquake and in its aftermath.

Although more than a year has already passed since the earthquake rocked Nepal, many people are still living in the tents, sheds and damaged infrastructure in rural Nepal.

Despite the commitments and contributions of Nepal’s development partners, high-powered National Reconstruction Authority is yet to reach all the victims of the earthquake with the money necessary to rebuild the damaged houses.

Causing physical damage, the earthquake had also wrought havoc on social side. The sufferings of old, children and women in tents and damaged of property, in the absence of food, were everywhere as the earthquake had left many things shattered.

For the children born during the earthquake, there will be little traces left when they grow up. The pictorial book will remind them of the moments of horror and life after the quake.

The pictorial publication highlights the stories of people – the children, adolescents, men and women, who lived, took shelter, provided or availed of services under UNICEF tents during the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes that damaged or destroyed thousands of homes, health posts, hospitals, schools, radio stations and other structures. In order to help ensure smooth operation of necessary services to the people in the 14 most earthquake-affected districts, UNICEF distributed tarpaulin and tents.

"We published these photo books in English and Nepali not just to show what role the tents played in the humanitarian response phase following the disaster, but also to remind us of what the situation was like, and how we need to be better prepared for disasters in the future," said UNICEF Nepal Representative Tomoo Hozumi, releasing the book in a public function.

The UNICEF tents served many purposes – from medical tents that housed outpatient services and operation theatres at the hospital premises to child-friendly spaces that provided safe spaces for children to play and have fun. The tents were also used to set up temporary learning centres to quickly provide learning space for children whose schools were damaged or destroyed during the earthquake as well as to establish shelter homes that provided a safe and caring environment for pregnant women, new mothers, their babies and caretakers.

The photo book was launched by Sushila Phuyal who traveled from Kavrepalanchowk District with her 15-month-old son for the event. Phuyal, who was six-months pregnant when the earthquake struck on 25 April 2015, gave birth at the birthing centre established under a UNICEF tent in Dolakha District. Following the delivery, she lived under UNICEF shelter home before going back home to her family including her 7-year-old son.

"It is because of the proper care and support that I received at the UNICEF shelter home after my delivery that I and my son are healthy and happy," she said. "I hope UNICEF will continue to put smiles on the faces of mothers like me." 

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