Since the signature of a new constitution (September) and the nomination of a new government (October), Nepal has entered a new crisis, this time economic, as if the country did not have enough to do for the regions badly hit by the earthquake… Obviously, the monsoon has prevented the start of reconstruction and it was therefore very important to distribute tarpaulins and temporary shelters in the weeks following the earthquake so that the population could find shelter from the strong monsoon rains.
Today, Nepal is suffering an unprecedented economic crisis. It is due to the refusal by India, the Southern neighbour on which Nepal is dependent for all its imported goods, to accept the new constitution. Thus India has prevented all transport to Nepal of petroleum products (petrol, diesel, gas) and even essential goods such as food. Many industries and trading firms have their doors closed due to the lack of raw materials, fuel… We are nearly 100 days into the crisis!
However, this has not stopped us from pressing ahead with the project of reconstructing the building of the Phaplu Maternity Center.
Phaplu is in the Solukhumbu (South of Everest) and its hospital is also the district hospital. The history of this hospital is somewhat special. It was Edmund Hillary (the first to climb Everest in 1953) and his foundation which financed its construction. Edmund Hillary also worked there himself a little over 30 years ago. The building of the Maternity Center encompassed all the technical activities of a normal hospital: operating theatre, maternity ward, radiography room, consultations, chemist’s shop, dental surgery, etc.
It is this part in particular which greatly suffered from the earthquake. The walls of the building, made of dry stone, were badly shaken by the earthquake of 25 April and above all by the aftershock of 12 May 2015. The building is uninhabitable today, and the asbl Nepal Mountain Mobile Hospital has decided to reconstruct it.
Plans have been drawn up with the help of an engineer/architect and are being finalised. Since a year ago Paphlu has been accessible via a new road. This will allow us to bring in all the modern materials (cement, iron rods, tiling…) and to construct a building which is not only resistant to earthquakes but which also looks to the future, since the Paphlu hospital will remain the referral hospital for the whole region. Only a few details of the interior and the finishings remain to be decided. Demolition of the building began on 10 November 2015.