Hoping to Build Back Better
Hoping to Build Back Better
Living in a thatched housemay look romantic, but it is not by choice that poor families in Mainari village, Kapilvastu, do so. It’s because they have to. And sadly, disaster chases those who are already deprived and vulnerable.
This happened just recently, when 36 households from Mairani lost their huts to fire. At around 4:45 pm on that windy evening, one of the villagers was cooking a meal. A gust of wind, a spark flying into tinder-dry thatch… The fire turned houses into ash within an hour. Even though the fire extinguisher from the district headquarters reached the site within a short time, 36 homes were lost. People not only lost their houses; three women and one man were also badly burnt, along with some cattle. 
Soon after the incident, UMN and its partner Lumbini Christian Society (LCS), met with the District Disaster Relief Committee (DDRC).  After the incident, the DDRC immediately provided house holders with NPR 5,000 cash (USD 50) according to government practice, and some food item were donated by a local political leader and the Chamber of Commerce. UMN’s Rupandehi team and LCS visited the site to see for themselves, and to meet with the affected people. Villagers were keen for a permanent solution, and asked for CGI (corrugated iron) sheets for their houses’ roofs, because most of the houses caught fire because of sparks in the thatch.
In addition, most of the school-going children of these families also lost all their school books and stationery. So, to reduce future vulnerability, UMN provided 50 bundles of CGI sheet, mosquito nets and stationery materials (bags, notebooks, pencils, geometry boxes) for 60 children. Three pregnant women and one woman who had just suffered a miscarriage also received some nutrition supplements (mixed pulses, super flour, and wheat flour) and cotton cloths.
When the new houses are built, picturesque thatch will give way to shining steel, but the villagers will feel safer from fire.

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