When the first earthquake struck on April 25th, the Kathmandu Living Labs team quickly joined together and worked long hours on mapping needs and relief efforts. After two weeks at this furious pace, the team felt that things were starting to return to normal. Our hours slowed, and we were somewhat burned out. We got back to our normal routine of playing futsal as a team.
Then on May 12th, another large 7.4 earthquake hit us. Like many in Nepal, who had started thinking that life might go back to normal again, we were discouraged. We had worked so hard, but here we were again in the same position we started. Many of our team members had to spend time taking care of their family and their homes after the 2nd quake, and our spirits were low.
On top of it, we were told that we could no longer continue situation room from the same space for safety reasons. An old building, it had been damaged in the first quake, and then continued to be more and more damaged with each aftershock. Now with everything else, where would we go?
It took us a while to come out of this gloom, but we haven’t given up. We found a new space for our situation room. Kaasthamandap School has generously provided space for our situation room until the school re-opens. The area we are in gets lots of natural light and breezes, and has a view of the valley to inspire us. In the next few days we will be announcing a fundraising campaign to help us expand our organization’s capacity and to help us find a new permanent office which will enable us to make important contribution in the reconstruction phase.
We have started working again on new projects to help organizations in their relief and rebuilding efforts. Just this week, KLL team members led a Mobile Data Collection training for members of the International Labor Organization (ILO). ILO members will go into three affected districts and use mobile phones to map the blocked roads. This will help relief organizations understand what areas can be reached by road, and which can only be reached by helicopter or mule train.
We have updated the quakerelief.info to include a map of Internally Displaced Persons camps and House damage and have updated other maps to reflect data acquired since the May 12th quake.
Finally, we continue to be grateful for the efforts of the HOT-OSM community. We continue to organize our efforts here to identify the kind of information that needs to be mapped. This week we have been involved in discussions with authorities and organizations to identify what information will be required for the rebuilding process in Nepal. In the next few days, we hope to get a better sense of what the remote mappers and international community can continue to assist us.