On Saturday, Prince Harry visited areas of Nepal destroyed by the 2015 Earthquake as part of a five-day trip. It is the first time Prince Harry has officially visited the country and marks 200 years of friendship and camaraderie between Nepal and Britain.
Prince Harry started his journey in Kathmandu and met with survivors from the Nepal Earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people and destroyed almost 1 million homes, according to the CBC. He met with homeless families that are now living in a camp in Bhaktapur, just east of Kathmandu.
About 60 families have been displaced from their homes since the Nepal earthquake and are surviving off funds provided by the government whilst they wait for help in rebuilding their homes. The families have been living in the camp for almost a year.
Prince Harry commended the Nepalese people for their “resolve and resilience” in the wake of the Nepal earthquake. He also took the time to meet with the Gurkha’s who helped with the rescue efforts immediately after the earthquake struck.
The Nepal earthquake was a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit on April 25, 2015, with a second tremor felt on May 12. One of the areas damaged was The Unesco World Heritage Site. Prince Harry met with the apprentices and artisans who are working tirelessly to restore the royal palace at Patan Durbar Square.
The Nepalese people have hope that now that Prince Harry has visited areas destroyed by the earthquake, rebuilding will happen faster. Authorities have been slow to push ahead with quake rebuilding efforts. A government reconstruction agency was finally appointed in December, but no new houses and structures have been built for the families without homes yet, said Bikash Ratna Dhakhwa, chief of the committee that takes care of the Golden Temple.
“Now that a big international figure has come here, we hope it will internationalize our plight and hope we will get some help to reconstruct the damaged structures in the near future.”
As well as homes, a number of other important building were damaged by the earthquake including monasteries, prayer houses, and assembly halls. It is estimated that the repairs will cost 25 million rupees, $376,000, but only a fraction of that has been collected from private donors since the disaster struck.
Prince Harry also met with Nepal’s first female president, Bidya Devi Bhandari, on Sunday morning in Kensington Palace. They discussed climate change and conservation as well as pleasantries, according to a Kensington Palace spokesman.
“The prince very much enjoyed his meeting with the president. They had a wide-ranging and friendly conversation, covering earthquake recovery, the importance of tourism, conservation and climate change.”
The UK pledged the most aid to Nepal after the earthquake, according to the BBC, with a total commitment of £70 million in earthquake relief, according to figures released by the Department for International Development (DFID). The money provided by the UK will help over 250,000 people find shelter.
Prince Harry said the flight to the areas affected by the Nepal earthquake was long but “worth the hours to be in Nepal, finally.” He served alongside the Gurkhas in Afghanistan, as a soldier in the British Army, and has a long-standing relationship with the Nepalese people. He is set to meet members of the brigade during his visit this week.
Gurkas have served in every major conflict involving British forces for the past 200 years and have won 13 Victoria Crosses, the highest British military decoration for valor, according to the BBC.
Hundreds of people have been following Prince Harry’s trip through Nepal and gathered to cheer when he visited their areas on Sunday.
“I had never imagined that he would come,” said Sambridhi Rayamaji, a college student. “I am feeling really lucky, I am feeling really happy.”
[Photo by Navesh Chitrakar/AP]