The earthquake, which hit Nepal on 25 April 2015 with multiple aftershocks, brought about widespread destruction across the country and resulted in 8,790 deaths, 22,300 injuries and 755,549 houses that were either damaged or completely destroyed.
Mostly engineers by profession, including some experts in agriculture, forestry, accounting and administrative and logistical support, the UN Volunteers were integrated into the UNDP Demolition and Debris Management Project and the Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Programme (CDRMP).
As one of the thirteen women who served as engineers in the demolition and debris management operations of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Anima supported the earthquake-affected areas by using her skills in a traditionally male-dominated field.
“Engineering is for boys while girls are supposed to study management and work in banks,” she recalls her uncle as saying when she was still a student asking for career advice years ago.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme launched today the report Rebuilding with the Community after a Disaster: Volunteer Engagement in the 2015 Nepal Earthquake. The report examines the role of volunteerism in the earthquake response efforts based on the work of 107 UN Volunteers who served in the disaster-affected sites.
Furthermore, the report posits that through their engagement in response efforts at the community level, UN Volunteers were able to help advance the social inclusion of women, promote volunteerism among local people and decision-makers, and create opportunities for youth participation and capacity development.
Alexandra Lazau-Ratz, International UN Volunteer, Associate Humanitarian Affairs Officer, OCHA Preparedness and Response Unit
During a recent visit to Nepal, UNV Deputy Executive Coordinator, Rosemary Kalapurakal, accompanied by UNDP Country Director, Renaud Meyer, visited the quake-affected cities of Irkhu and Chautara in the district of Sindhupalchowk. There they witnessed first-hand national UN Volunteers in action, managing earthquake debris and the demolition of dangerous structures under a UNDP project. This initiative is a successful collaboration amongst UNDP, the Government of Nepal and UNV.
Katmandu, Nepal: My name is Manash Gadtaula and I am a national UN Volunteer in Nepal. I serve as a civil engineer in a team of eight for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) building demolitions project, as a support for the Village Development Committee. Demolition of houses can sound counter-intuitive but it is actually necessary in order to prevent further loss of lives during the aftershocks.
Katmandu, Nepal: My name is Hotrika Joshi and I am a national UN Volunteer Civil Engineer in Nepal. I am part of a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) demolition project which, has handled the damage assessment of 250 households, benefitting approximately 1,500 people.
In the Irkhu Village Development Committee area, a thousand more buildings need to be assessed and potentially torn down within the very first weeks, before the monsoon arrives.
The April 2015 Nepal 7.8 magnitude earthquake, also known as the Gorkha Earthquake, killed more than 8,800 people and injured more than 23,000.