Drinking water plants aid Nepal earthquake crisis

The devastating earthquake in Nepal desperately requires humanitarian workers. There is not only the need for rescue and medical care, but also for healthy water supplies.

Inhabitants of the camp in Bhaktapur are using the water from the arche noVa tank.

The earthquake of magnitude 7.9 occurred on 25 April 2015 at 11:56 a.m. near the capital Kathmandu. The earthquake is said to have lasted more than one minute. It is supposed to be the worst earthquake in Nepal for 80 years. The earthquake and numerous aftershocks were also felt in the neighbouring countries India and Pakistan. Nepal has declared a state of emergency in the affected areas and asked the international community for humanitarian assistance. Nepal, one of the poorest countries in Asia, faces major challenges, not least because the affected area in and around the capital is extremely densely populated.

Immediately after receiving the news arche noVa has sent a team to the disaster area to estimate the extent of the damage better and to locate possible operation sites.

Emergency aid

Meanwhile, the installation of two drinking water treatment plants at the District Hospital in Bidur, in the province Nuwakot, which was hit hard by the earthquake, is in full progress, securing the supply of approximately 170 patients. "The two hospital buildings have overcome the earth shocks, but the water supply has since then been catastrophic. Patients and doctors have to revert to heavy polluted water even during ongoing surgical procedures” says Konrad Menzel, describing the situation prior to the commitment of the intervention team. The trained mechanical engineer is a member of the arche noVa intervention team on-site, which carries out emergency aid in the field of water, sanitation and hygiene in the province of Nuwakot and in the historical royal city Bhaktapur.

"The confusing phase directly after the earthquake thins out gradually. Our explorations have led us to two locations where the need for assistance is particularly high," explains project manager Friedrich Machein. In Bidur the earthquake has left behind severe damage, among other things the water supply. Also damaged is the local wastewater treatment plant. After the work at the hospital arche noVa will focus on the repair of the drainage system. The team works closely together with the responsible authorities. "The city engineer is very happy about our commitment and pleased that we contribute locally," says Konrad Menzel. The numerous small and major rivers in the region are very dirty since the earthquake, it is about time that the wastewater treatment plant can go into operation again. Arche noVa has more plans for the province Nuwakot: Repair of spring tapping, pipelines and water distribution points in the more remote mountain villages.

In the second operating area of arche noVa in Bhaktapur is a water tank which was built at an emergency shelter a few days ago. In order to secure the water supply of 1,500 people affected by the earthquake. Previously, the inhabitants of the camp had to wait and rely on for the delivery by tankers. Arche noVa is currently in discussion with government agencies which want to set up five official temporary settlements on public land in Bhaktapur.

"7,200 families who have lost their homes are supposed to find shelter in these settlements. Planned are simple buildings made out of bamboo and corrugated iron. We want to install pipes, storage and if necessary filters for water supply as well as toilets and washing facilities for personal hygiene in these settlements," said Friedrich Machein.

Arche noVa already has positive experiences with the drinking water treatment plants, which were flown into Nepal, in countries like Haiti, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vanuatu. One plant can produce up to 500 litres of water per hour. Ideally, six systems can supply up to 12,000 people a day.

"The supply of clean drinking water in crisis areas that have been ravaged by natural disasters is one of the most important aid supplies" summarises Jens-Uwe Vogel, Managing Director of VSX - VOGEL SOFTWARE. "In many cases pump technology is used for the installation of such plants. As a provider of software solutions for the pump selection VSX is not only linked to the association concerning the content of their aid supplies, another decisive aspect why we support the arche noVa helper’s regularly is the regional proximity. Due to the current acute situation, we did not hesitate and triggered a donation. In addition, we also asked our employees to donate."