Chautara update, a few months on

On September 1st, equipped with a new temporary visa, I was finally ready to set off back to Chautara. It was really interesting to see with fresh eyes to progress made since I had left last time but also since my first arrival back in May. Signs of progress and things ‘returning to normal’ could be seen all around;
#1 One symbolic example is the main square and only open space within the town which is slowly returning to its original state. One half is now cleared with the Norwegian Red Cross field hospital having transitioned over to the newly re-established district hospital. The ground, now free of the temporary tent city, is being reconditioned back to the important community space it was before the earthquake (especially important for budding footballers and cricketers I believe);
01 main square

#2 As for me, I am now in a new residence at the Save the Children district office and field base. I’m living Monday to Friday in one of these stylish blue tents complete with light (when there’s power) and a camp bed. During the day I work between the Save office (top right, one of the few local’s homes not to be damaged which we now share with the family who help me get my twice a day daal bhaat fix… Accidentally also note the motorbike with no less than four passengers on board see my previous post on transport) and the new pre-fabricated District Development Committee (DDC) offices (bottom right);

02 new digs

#3 Slowly but surely the damaged and dangerous buildings are being reduced to piles of rubble. This is the site of a former hotel which was badly damaged in the second earthquake on May 12th;

03 digger

#4 Damaged private buildings, which are not causing a direct threat to the public, are being demolished slowly without the use of heavy machinery;

04 demolish 2

#5 Temporarily leaving the main market street dotted with eerie skeletons;

05 demolish

#6 On September 9th we supported the Sindhupalchok District Disaster Relief Committee (DDRC) to run a multi-stakeholder review & lessons learned workshop. The review covered the first 4 months of the earthquake response including the rescue, relief and emergency phases and discussed plans for moving forward into the early recovery, recovery and reconstruction phases. The day was a great success with informative presentations from all cluster Government Leads, over 200 people in attendance and speeches from senior politicians from various political parties;

07 review

#7 On a slightly different note, these beautiful moths have been turning up in droves just recently. They only seem to live in this form for a day or two before dying off but are handily, wonderfully un-camera shy during the daylight hours in-between;

08 moths

#8 At night they certainly add some entertainment value whilst I make my way across camp to use the loos. Hard to capture in a photo but hopefully you get the idea of them whirling around the one light source at high speed (though when the power cuts out watch out for your head torch – just saying!?);

09 moths

#9 Sometimes the progress can still seem to be slow, just like in this classic Chautara traffic jam;

06 traffic jam

#10 Last but not least, I’ve also been making the most of the walk from one office to the other at opposite ends of Chautara to continue to enjoy the absolutely stunning scenery at every available opportunity;



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