Tri-Service

Gurkha Veterans Face Homeless Winter

More than one thousand Gurkha veterans and their families are still living in makeshift shelters after earthquakes hit Nepal eight months...

More than one thousand Gurkha veterans and their families are still living in makeshift shelters after earthquakes hit Nepal eight months ago.   
 
Entire villages were flattened by earthquakes in April and May which killed up to nine thousand people.   
 
The Gurkha Welfare Trust says despite raising four million pounds to support veterans affected by the disaster, protests and fuel shortages have hampered rebuilding efforts.  
 
The earthquake that hit Nepal on the 25th April was the most powerful to have hit the country in over 80 years.  A second earthquake a fortnight later brought even more devastation.  Up to nine thousand people were killed and more than 22 thousand injured.
 
 
The Gurkha Welfare Trust which supports ex-servicemen, and their communities says 1,129 veterans and their widows lost their homes.  The charity launched an emergency appeal and raised £4 million but rebuilding work has faced many setbacks.
 
Gurkha Veterans Endure Homeless Winter After Earthquake Devastation
Gurkha Veterans Endure Homeless Winter After Earthquake Devastation
Gurkhas have fought for the British Crown for more than 200 years
 
Initially work had to wait until the monsoon had passed but since September the country has faced blockades at its border with India.  The protests have killed more than 50 people and stopped vital fuel, medical and building supplies getting through.  In November UNICEF estimated more than 3 million children under the age of five face the risk of death of disease this winter.
 
Elderly Gurkha veterans are also at risk.
 
The Trust has already spent £500,000 distributing tents, building shelters, as well as providing medical care, solar lights and cash grants. Personnel from 70 Gurkha Field Squadron, The Queen’s Gurkha Engineers have been deployed in Nepal since October. More than 100 homes have been reconstructed, 9 new schools built and 18 water projects repaired but the trust says there's still more to be done.
 
Veterans are still living under tarpaulins and temporary shelters and with temperatures plummeting, there’s concern many will not survive the winter months.