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Thuli Maya, 78, sits outside her new earthquake resistant home. Makwanpur, Nepal.
World News

Christian charity builds over 100 earthquake-resilient homes

by Tola Mbakwe

Tearfund said they were one of the first agencies to start building permanent, earthquake-resilient shelters in the Makwanpur region of Nepal.

The charity began building following the 2015 earthquake, which killed nearly 9,000 people, injured 22,000 and left millions homeless.

With Nepal positioned in a zone of high seismic activity, the charity said it must help residents "prepare for the worst, and hope for the best".

Douwe Dijkstra, Tearfund's Country Director in Nepal explained: "It's impossible to predict when Nepal will experience another serious earthquake, but there's a lot that we can do to prepare for it and be ready.

"Over the past three years, we've been working with the most vulnerable in the community to fix the damage done to homes, water supplies, toilet facilities, and livelihoods.

"It's as much about reducing the risk of another earthquake hitting people so hard as it is about recovery."

Working with local authorities and alongside partner organisations, the project has included the design and distribution of blueprints for earthquake resistant housing, which can be replicated in other parts of the country.

Thuli Maya, a 78-year-old widow whose original home collapsed in the earthquake, was one of the first people to move from a temporary shelter into her new home.

"My old house was only made of mud and stone, but this house has layers of concrete reinforcements built in," she said.

"I like this new home. Now that I am old, it is good to have a strong house to spend my days in."

On top of building model homes for others to replicate, Tearfund also trained 150 government engineers on earthquake resistant construction technology.

More than 700 local masons also got hands-on training in the required practical techniques needed to build these safer homes.

For 567 families, who didn't receive new homes, they were awarded grants to support the reconstruction of their homes along with improved reinforcements.

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