Residents of West Lancashire and surrounding areas will be aware of the devastating effects that flooding can have. Heavy rains appear to be the summer norm now, perhaps as a result of climate change.
Keith Laycock, Chairman of West Lancashire based charity Resolve International returned from Nepal last week, where climate change is significantly changing lives. ‘The mountains which usually have permanent snow caps had been black rock until the week before I arrived’. Nepal is dependent on melt water from the snow-capped mountains and the glaciers but they are rapidly disappearing. The melt water keeps people, animals and crops alive and also produces hydro-electricity for the country.
Nepal is used to monsoon rains, but last year the rains were exceptional and most of Western Nepal was subject to flooding and landslides, hundreds of people lost their lives, others lost their homes and schools were destroyed. ‘We appealed to local people her in West Lancashire to help us provide a new roof for one school in the affected area and we raised enough money to buy corrugated sheets to cover new temporary classrooms’.
The commanding officer at the Nepal Army barracks in Baglung District told Keith Laycock that transporting relief aid by road proved impossible at the time of the floods. Landslides had destroyed sections of the roads and other dirt tracks were deep in mud. The army resorted to using helicopters to transport goods to the worst affected villages.
Earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters are not the only problems in this developing country. The lack of sanitation is still a major problem in Nepal, causing illness and deaths of hundreds of young children each year. ‘We have just completed another 165 toilets for rural families’ comments Keith Laycock. ‘I have just returned from walking the hills of Baglung District in Western Nepal where we have been supporting families for the past decade.’ The steep sided ‘hills’ lie at 2-3,000 meters altitude. ‘I cannot imagine how the families carry all the stone, cement and other materials across these hills to their homes, as it is exhausting just walking up and down the trails.’
Resolve International has provided almost seven hundred and fifty toilets to rural families, women’s groups and schools in Nepal since the charity started in 2006.
Last week Keith Laycock visited one of the schools which benefitted from funds raised by Aughton Male Voice Choir. Paul Dickie from Lathom was in Kathmandu when the first big earthquake struck in 2015 and was determined to help some of the people whose lives were devastated by the earthquakes. The £775 raised at a concert in Ormskirk Parish Church provided teaching materials to ten schools in Bhimpokhara. It was very appropriate to help these schools, because this is where Resolve International began its work in 2006 and it allowed us to mark our tenth anniversary. ‘The school I visited was also rebuilding two classrooms which were damaged in the earthquakes’ adds Keith.
If you would like to know more about the work of Resolve International or support their work visit their website: www.resolveinternational.org.
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