On 24th of March, a team of Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (member of ACT Alliance) and PHASE Nepal visited Baramchi and Jalbire in Sindhupalchowk to follow up on the progress of the ongoing WASH project (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene). The team included Laure (programme manager of Diakonie), Keshav (WASH engineer) and Maya (communications manager of PHASE Nepal). In the project areas, they were accompanied by social mobilizers, technical staff and OJTs of Baramchi and Jalbire.
By Maya Gurung: “We travelled from Kathmandu to Balephi, which is on the road toward the Tibetan/Chinese border and about 75km from Kathmandu. From there, we left the “good” road and travelled about 15km off-road to Baramchi. We were welcomed by the DWUC – Drinking Water User Committee – of Ward 1 in Baramchi. Here, a water scheme is being built to provide 8 households on a flank above the centre of Baramchi with safe drinking water. They gave us garlands of flowers, apples and fresh buffalo milk. The source of the water supply is around 700 meters above the small cluster of houses.
Well, there are no houses left in this part of the village so 8 families are living in shelters made of CGI (corrugated galvanised iron) sheets and tarpaulin. From the source, a pipeline will bring the water down and divide it over two taps. Until now, there was only 1 tap and the families living in the lower part of the cluster had to walk a significant distance to reach it. Also, due to the earthquake, the pipes that provided water to that 1 tap were damaged. The flow of water was too low to provide all the families with sufficient water.
6 members of the committee are working on the water supply (supervised by technical staff of PHASE) and they were happy that Diakonie and PHASE Nepal have been supporting this project. The small community is still waiting for clarity in the government rules and regulations regarding rebuilding, and hope that they will receive the grant promised by the government. In addition to housing, they explained that water is very important for them, as they need it to drink, to cook food and to water the vegetables that they are growing in the small gardens near the shelters.
After our visit to Baramchi, we travelled 20 minutes back towards Balephi to Jalbire where PHASE is working on another water scheme. Again, we were excitedly received by the water committee, who were waiting to show us their progress and tell us about their hopes for the future. This was a significantly larger water scheme to provide about 50 families in the centre of Jalbire with safe drinking water. To provide this water, more than 600 meters of pipeline is transporting the water from above the village. A reserve-tank of 14,000 litres will collect the water and 8 taps will bring it to the households near the road.
Again, we were impressed by the enthusiasm and gratefulness of the committee that is actively involved in the restoration of the water supply to their houses. The earthquake damaged the pipelines here as well. Because many people have moved from higher and more unsafe locations and towards the market-area after the earthquake, the existing tank and taps aren’t sufficient. It was clear though that this community has more financial means than the one that we visited in Baramchi as some of the houses had been rebuilt (though much smaller than before and often with CGI sheets and steel structures). However, most of the villagers are still living in shelters here as well.
The DWUC of Jalbire was formed almost 20 years ago and organizes different activities to collect funds for water supply improvement. Also for this project, the DWUC will be contributing 10% of the necessary funds. The community was very happy that they would have a sufficient water supply as it will be necessary when (or if…) rebuilding begins. Despite the harsh conditions they are living in, they were laughing and making the best of the situation.”