The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Waiting for the sun to shine

“My life has been very gloomy and cold, but I know my sun will shine.” – Yama Tamang, survivor of the Nepal earthquake.

Yama Tamang, a 54-year-old woman from Boch Village Development Committee in Dolakha, was attending a nearby cultural programme on 25 April 2015 when the earthquake struck, burying her under a mound of debris.  The earthquake would go on to kill 9,000 of her country people and destroy nearly 700,000 houses, the worst of its kind in the country since 1934.

After two months in the hospital, Yama returned to her village to find a pile of rubble in the place of where her house once stood. Although she escaped the earthquake with her life, she lost both her home and property.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, victims received small financial support from the Government of Nepal in an effort to reduce suffering. But Yama's name, like many other victims, was not on the official list of people affected by the earthquake. She was in the hospital when the government registered names and distributed the initial relief money. Without that help, Yama couldn't construct a temporary shelter to protect her as she waited for assistance to rebuild her home.



  • ​​​​​​​​Yama Tamang stands in front of her destroyed house. ©UNOPS/Binaya Parajuli​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Due to discrepancies in the number of earthquake victims, and the difficulty of distributing relief funds due to property and infrastructure damage, the government decided to start a new census. In Yama's district, Dolakha, the World Bank is supporting the Government of Nepal and the Central Bureau of Statistics, with UNOPS acting as the logistical and operations agent to help implement the census and identify the affected households.

The new census started 3 January 2016, bringing a ray of hope for Yama and the other missed earthquake victims.

My life has been very gloomy and cold, but I know my sun will shine.

A census taker conducting a household survey in Kavre VDC, Dolakha.

The Central Bureau of Statistics, with UNOPS support, has deployed more than 1,500 teams of engineers and social mobilisers to implement the survey in 11 earthquake-affected areas. The census is being conducted under the authority of the National Planning Commission, in partnership with the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, and the Ministry of Urban Development.

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