Toran Bahadur BC, 23, was in Kathmandu, Nepal on 25 April 2015 when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake – and later a 7.3 magnitude aftershock – killed 9,000 people. He survived.
A civil engineering graduate, Toran moved to Dolakha – the epicentre of the aftershock and a hard hit area of the country – to help those affected by the earthquake. Along with 126 others, Toran received five days of training conducted by Nepal's Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), the Ministry of Urban Development (MOUD) and the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MOFALD), with UNOPS providing logistics support. The newly trained census takers were then sent to collect data for the post-earthquake household registration process, led by CBS.
The survey is being conducted to determine earthquake damage to housing, using uniformly applied engineering criteria. This information is being added to a comprehensive household database, which is helping CBS identify households eligible for assistance grants. Toran visits 20 houses on a typical day, sometimes walking up to four hours uphill to complete the surveys.
"It's very challenging to commute due to geographical difficulties – there are no proper public transportation facilities," says Toran. "We get very tired but it's worth it once we see the affected families welcoming us with a smiling face, despite their difficulties."
"This survey has brought a ray of hope into their lives. They are optimistic that they will get the money needed to rebuild their houses," Toran continues. "I feel proud and happy to be a part of this much needed project."
For some households, their hope is already becoming a reality. The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has started payments in some districts, allowing people to rebuild their homes – and their lives.
With UNOPS logistical and operational support, more than 1,500 teams of engineers and social mobilisers were deployed by CBS to implement the survey in 11 earthquake-affected districts. It is being conducted under the authority of the National Planning Commission, in partnership with MOFALD, and MOUD. The World Bank is supporting the Government of Nepal and CBS.