April 2016, and winter is edging to a close in Nepal, except at high altitude.
After months of tension, the political situation has gradually improved, protests have grown less frequent and public life is slowly returning to normal. The blockade along the Nepal-India border has been lifted and goods and fuel are flowing back into the country.
Nepal now faces several challenges: the new constitution has not been welcomed by all, and preparations for local elections and the reconstruction of the country are only just getting underway. Faced with the scale of this task, Handicap International, like other international NGOs, is working in partnership with the government to help meet the people’s needs.
“For thousands of people, the priority now is to rebuild their homes before the monsoon rains begin. They also need to recover their livelihoods so they can earn a living, find another source of income and raise their standard of living again. A year after the disaster, many people still need help, so our teams are continuing their work,” explains Sarah Blin, Director of Handicap International Nepal.
Rehabiliation care is a top priority
Handicap International continues to deliver rehabilitation sessions, provide prosthetics, orthotics and mobility aids, and run occupational therapy services. We have also improved sustainable access to these services for isolated people. To make sure that people living in rural areas also benefit from these services, we have deployed eight mobile rehabilitation units in the west of Nepal.
We are also helping to improve the country’s health system. Nearly 200 health professionals in Nepal have received training in injury and trauma management, and more than 300 caregivers have been provided with information on the benefits of physical rehabilitation.
Including the most vulnerable people
Handicap International also continues to provide support to the most vulnerable individuals, to ensure they are included in their communities, enjoy a better standard of living, and can access aid supplied by other humanitarian organisations. We place a particular emphasis on making sure their needs are taken into account as the reconstruction gets underway. Handicap International is continuing to work with humanitarian operators and the Nepalese authorities to further these aims.
Preparing to deal with new disasters
Since Nepal is at high risk of earthquakes and floods, and many regions are difficult to access in emergencies, Handicap International is continuing its natural disaster risk reduction and preparation projects. The aim is to reduce the risks of disasters (especially landslides and floods) for people living in the centre and west of the country. We are working to ensure the most vulnerable people are included in plans, to promote risk preparation in communities and to set up flood early warning systems. We have trained 280 members of local committees to ensure the needs of the most vulnerable people are taken into account as part of disaster preparation activities.
Handicap International is also continuing to prepare health staff for a major earthquake. Our teams train health providers in hospitals in Kathmandu Valley to treat large numbers of casualties.