A 7.8 magnitude earthquake has devastated Nepal. Buildings, old and new, have crumbled. Older brick and wood homes are almost exclusively reduced to rubble.
In an interview with The Guardian, Bhaskar Gautam, a local sociologist, describes the situation: “Outside Kathmandu it’s the rural poor. But in the city it’s the people in the older precarious housing. It’s obvious: the wealthier you are, the stronger the house you have.” For years the Nepali people have tried to improve disaster preparedness and resilience, but too many are resource strapped.
Frustratingly, the very institutions that cause such disparity are who the populace must depend on for relief. As aid floods Nepal, victims continue to struggle to regain control over their lives. Meanwhile, decisions over the distribution of resources are made for them. The influx of aid pouring into the region will no doubt save lives, but many ravaged by the quake are having to wait days for food and shelter as government officials take pictures, avoid the public and leave.
The situation is so bad that Nepalese villagers are blocking trucks carrying supplies for earthquake victims. Protests are on the rise outside of Nepal’s Parliament. Locals are demanding more to help the tens of thousands now homeless and short of food and water.
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