Last month the board and members of ASF International network were in Nepal for our planned General Assembly meeting. We would like to extend our condolences to all the people who have lost loved ones, friends and colleagues as a result of the earthquakes on April 25th and May 12th.
During the course of the week we visited various towns and villages devastated by the earthquakes, and met with local and international NGO’s and partners including our own local member organisation ASF Nepal, and we held our own Nepal Disaster Response Workshop with member organisations.
The initial phase of disaster response is now at a close, and the early stages of Recovery are commencing. The Government of Nepal issued theirPost Disaster Needs Assessment and has held a major Donors Conference to plan rebuilding. This is the stage where we anticipate our contribution to the recovery and rebuilding efforts in Nepal become critical.
There are two different scales at which ASF will be responding. Firstly, member organisations will be responding to individual organisations for requests for help and support in their own rebuilding and fundraising tasks. Secondly, the ASF-International network will be working with ASF Nepal to carry out the actions defined in the response strategy workshop. The priorities identified in that meeting were to:
- Produce a set of locally appropriate construction guidelines suitable for seismic resistant construction with regard for local culture and materials, as well as consistent with the Nepal Building Codes.
- Establish a Technical Support Office. This would initially be located in Kathmandu, and pending funding and partnerships, satellite Technical Support Offices would be opened in the most affected Local Districts and Towns as necessary
- Prepare and run a series of local contractor and builder training programmes communicating good practice in seismic resistant design within the context of the local vernacular building traditions.
In our own discussions it emerged that many local people will be hampered in their efforts to rebuild by the Monsoon season which is starting now. This season will last for July and August, after which we will see rebuilding efforts begin in earnest. We therefore cannot afford to lose any time in making preparations. However there is still information that we need to confirm before we can act on our plans, including direction from the government of Nepal with regards to the scope and scale of works that can and should be carried out by INGO’s as well as the specifics of work permits for staff, volunteers and interns working in the post disaster situation.
We will be in touch again as soon as there is more clarity regarding these issues and with further information about the specific roles we will be looking for to support the Technical Assistance Office in the short and medium term, whether they be as Volunteers, Interns or Staff.