Volunteers outside a temporary shelter for leprosy patients in Nepal. Catholics from Bangalore, southern India, have built 50 temporary shelters for leprosy patients in Budaneelkanta village and are now building permanent homes for them. (Photo by Father George Kannanthanam)
Catholics in southern India are providing rehabilitation to quake-hit victims in Nepal in the hope their efforts will make a difference for those still badly affected more than one year after the earthquake devastated the country.
Claretian priests and Norbertine Fathers, and laypeople in association with various groups in Bangalore, southern India, set up a Bangalore Cares for Nepal fund to build houses for those most in need. Various religious congregations and voluntary organizations contributed toward the fund.
Many of the priests and volunteers are helping with reconstruction work in Nepal.
They have built 50 temporary shelters for leprosy patients in Budaneelkanta, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Claretian Father George Kannanthanam, who set up the Nepal fund, told ucanews.com.
"Now in our second phase of long-term rehabilitation, we are planning to build permanent homes for them," said Father George Kannanthanam who returned to Bangalore recently.
Over the past year the group has already built 450 temporary shelters in several quake-ravaged areas in Nepal.
The group has also undertaken the work of re-constructing a school in Mathurapati Phulbari, in Kabhrepalanchok district, one of the worst-affected areas.
"School authorities and parents of students had requested our help to build the school," the priest said.
"Life in Nepal is slowly limping back to normalcy. But it will never be normal without a basic infrastructure being created. If the education of children is affected, it will create an impact on future generations," he said. It will take another four to five months for the school building to be completed.
"Even after a year since the earthquake, there are no policies or programs in place for the relief and rehabilitation of victims," Father Kannanthanam said.
Currently there is also a shortage of workers in Nepal mostly due to migrants seeking employment abroad and so various organizations have come forward to help build earthquake-proof buildings.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated Nepal April 25 last year.
The quake and its aftershocks killed nearly 9,000 people in the Himalayan nation. A year on, more than 4 million people still live in temporary shelters and over 700,000 houses need to be rebuilt.