Rebuilding Lives after Tragedy: Nepal’s Earthquake Survivors

In the wake of the devastating 6.4 magnitude earthquake that shook Nepal’s Jajarkot and Rukum West, the nation grapples with a profound loss, with the tragic death of 153 people in which 80 of them are children, and even a 20-day-old baby in Athaviskot Municipality-14 of Rukum West. As the aftershocks continue to rattle the region, communities are gripped by fear, not only of more tremors but also of the looming threat of landslides. The remote and hard-to-reach areas face a unique set of challenges, with weak road facilities and lack of relief activities compounding the struggles of survivors.

According to a report by Ratopati Online, the earthquake’s impact was indeed staggering, as it touched the lives of 179,893 people in Jajarkot alone, and tragically, 9,186 individuals were left displaced by this catastrophic event. The toll on education has been severe, with 24 students and 1 teacher having lost their lives. The death rate is particularly high among women and children. 349 schools in Jajarkot and 66 schools in Rukum have sustained partial damage, while 100 schools have been left in ruins, disrupting the educational foundation of these communities.

The earthquake’s toll isn’t limited to physical injuries and property damage; it has also taken a significant toll on the mental health of survivors. According to The Kathmandu post reports indicate a 34 percent increase in anxiety, a 20 percent rise in alcohol use, and an 11 percent increase in suicidal thoughts in the earthquake-affected areas. The need for mental health support has never been greater, and experts emphasize the importance of timely counseling and raising awareness about mental health issues in these communities.

Addressing these challenges is a top priority. Mental health support, access to counseling services, and ensuring timely detection of mental health problems are key components of recovery. Local authorities also face the challenge of preventing outbreaks of communicable diseases in the aftermath of the earthquake. Aftershocks, damaged infrastructure, and overcrowded living conditions in open spaces due to the cold weather have raised concerns about diseases like malaria, kala-azar, dengue, and more, with vulnerable populations such as children, older individuals, and pregnant women at heightened risk.

Amidst the struggles and hardships faced by the affected communities, there is hope in the form of relief efforts and support. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released emergency funds of Rs 100 million to the Nepal Red Cross, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has donated Rs 10 million to aid earthquake survivors. China has extended a helping hand with a generous contribution of relief materials worth 300 million, including medicine. Local organizations and political parties, such as the Private Medical and Dental College Association, National Congress (NC), Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Center (CPN-MC), and Unified Socialist, are also contributing aid to help the quake-hit people. As Nepal works tirelessly to rebuild the lives of those affected by this devastating earthquake, the resilience and solidarity of the nation and the international community provide a glimmer of hope amidst the immense challenges. The path to recovery is long and challenging, but the people of Nepal are not alone in their journey toward healing and renewal.

Media Source: The Rising Nepal, Annapurna Post, The Kathmandu Post, The Himalayan Times, Kantipur, Swasthakhabar, Onlinekhabar, Ratopati, Grokhapatra, Nayapatrika.

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