A former Eastwood High School student who saw first hand the tragedy that rocked Nepal when last years earthquakes hit, says the country is on the mend.
David Paterson (23) from Uplawmoor is still working in Nepal one year on helping the communities to rebuild following the devastation wrought upon them after the two earthquakes.
David, who works with the DFID-funded International Citizen Service programme is based in the Makwanpur district.
Speaking exclusively to The Extra, he said: “As part of a small group of UK and Nepali volunteers, I have been working to improve and develop water, sanitation and hygiene conditions in the remote mountain-top village of Kiteni. Living in host homes within the community has allowed us to gain a vivid understanding of the daily struggles, in particular the severe water shortages faced by families in the village, and has given us an incredible opportunity to work with local people to bring about the change that they want to see.
“In addition to a needs assessment of all resident families, we have held several awareness events to promote basic hygiene and sanitation, and have worked alongside community groups to ascertain the current state of the water system.
“Before we return to the UK, we plan to repair and refurbish one of the village’s main water source intakes and reservoirs.”
With a total commitment of £70 million to the earthquake relief effort, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) has been one of the largest donors.
UK Government international development secretary Justine Greening said: “I saw for myself how devastating last year’s earthquakes in Nepal were and our long standing 200-year old friendship showed through in the UK public’s hugely generous response.
“It meant we were able to quickly reach the Nepali people with essential supplies, making sure the most vulnerable were protected throughout the following freezing winter.
David went on to add: “There is no doubt that the Nepali people are resilient and that they will only be strengthened by the experience, but it is also important that the world does not turn its back on the country while the first shoots of recovery are still in their infancy.”