Nepal Quake: Meet The British Charity Building Homes For Gurkha Veterans

Two years after the devastating Nepal earthquakes that left 600,000 people homeless, a British charity is battling to rehouse every affected Gurkha veteran before Monsoon season.

The Gurkha Welfare Trust (GWT) has already built homes for 850 of the more than 1,100 former personnel.

However, around 250 are still waiting for proper accommodation as torrential rains approach for the summer months. Most live in rudimentary shelters in the Himalayan foothills. 

Kul Bahadur, who served in the 6th Gurkha Rifles, said:

"When the earthquake came, we were eating lunch. We ran outside and moments later the house crumbled. It was terrifying – moments later and we would be buried under rubble.

The 74-year-old and his brother Gunga Bahadur Gurung both throughout the 1960s, including tours of Malaya, Borneo and Brunei.

On leaving the Army, they returned to live in their native village of Lankachhar in Kaski district, until the earthquakes destroyed their homes in 2015.

Both men are now living with their extended family while waiting for the completion of the new homes.

GWT Director Al Howard said:

"It’s been a phenomenal challenge to get this far. We’ve had to contend with political disputes, widespread shortages of materials and the complication of Nepal’s challenging terrain.

“Recently, negative fluctuations in the exchange rate have also pressured our efforts but we are 100% committed to getting a roof over the heads of our old soldiers and their families.”

The charity, which supports ex-Gurkhas and their communities, has undertaken a comprehensive aid plan that will build or repair hundreds of schools and water systems up to 2020.