“Save Jajarkot Earthquake Survivors from Harsh Cold.”

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"Save Jajarkot Earthquake Survivors from Harsh Cold."

On the night of November 3rd, at 11:47 PM, Jajarkot and West Rukum, Nepal, were struck by a powerful earthquake of magnitude 6.4, resulting in significant loss of life, injuries, destruction, and displacement. Responding to a request from the ward Chairperson of Bheri Municipality-01, Jajarkot, Kadambari Memorial College initiated a relief project named " Save Jajarkot Earthquake Survivors from Harsh Cold “in collaboration with Supady Living Trust, USA, and Committed Community Members Interested Nepal.

Team Kathmandu and Team Jajarkot were formed to execute the planned activities into action. The team in Kathmandu was responsible for cloth collection, segregation, packing, and dispatching of the collected clothes. Team Kathmandu was also involved in collecting the funds for dispatching. Team Jajarkot was responsible for situational analysis, need assessment, distribution of warm clothes to the earthquake survivors at Jajarkot, and providing Psychological First Aid (PFA) to the school students.

The team Jajarkot comprised six BSW Social Work students (four travelled to Jajarkot before and two joined the group later). The team in Kathmandu involved the rest of the BSW Social Work students of all the semesters. They were responsible for completing the activities based in Kathmandu.

The project started on November 28th, 2023. It was completed on 25th December with the distribution of warm clothes to 200 families around 1200 individuals in remote villages Pipe, Maide, Maidechaur, Ritthapani, Ghuileta, Daurikada, and Psychological First Aid to 200 students in the schools of Guiletha, Daurikada, Maid, and Pipe. The rapid appraisal was conducted to analyze the situation and to identify the huge need for warm clothes, an increment in the number

of toilets, and improvement in toilet hygiene and psychological support to the survivors. The team Jajarkot defined their PFA and clothes and mattress distribution activities per the assessed needs and availability of funds and time. The survivors, children, and the representatives of the wards highly appreciated the approach of Social Work. The team Jajarkoit received valuable appreciation and faced numerous challenges while implementing its activities. The geography and access to transportation were the key hurdles that made the team walk up to 3 hours to reach the remote villages. The disturbing telephone network hindered communication between the field disaster response team and Kathmandu College. Another challenge was the management of the crowds during the distribution of warm clothing which affected the efficiency of the distribution process. The team stayed in a building which was damaged due to the earthquake.

Despite these challenges, the project provided valuable insights for future disaster response initiatives for Social Work and set an example of how Social Work can be a key professional in disaster management. The importance of understanding local context and community dynamics, the principle of flexibility, the importance of preparedness in logistics, and the value of group work amongst the service providers in such remote, disaster-stricken areas were collected as key learning. This project also highlighted how a school of social work can use its resources, raise funds, and equip its students through such projects.