Gallery: a photographer’s tribute to Nepali quake survivors' strength and resilience
Images shot by a witness to the earthquake that devastated Nepal in April 2015 show the disaster’s impact on disabled people and their determination to rebuild lives
The earthquake that hit Nepal in April 2015 devastated the country, leaving in its wake more than 500,000 homes destroyed or damaged, over 8,500 people dead and tens of thousands injured. More than 65 per cent of the people injured during the earthquake suffered fractures and 12 per cent suffered spinal injuries. With statistics from before the earthquake indicating that somewhere between 7 and 10 per cent of the population in Nepal was already living with a disability of some form, an even higher proportion of the population is now in need of assistance, yet unable to fully access many services.
“Rebuilding Steps” is a photographic project focused not only on those newly handicapped people, whose plight has aggravated an already dramatic situation, but also on those already living with disabilities and how they survived. Working in collaboration with international and local organisations such as Medecins Sans Frontieres, the International Medical Corps and the Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre, local hospitals and other stakeholders, the project illustrates the impact of natural disaster on people with disabilities. It shows in both positive and negative ways the challenges they face during reconstruction.
“Rebuilding Steps”, currently being exhibited at the Photo Reporter Festival in Saint Brieuc, France, is the second part of a five-month project called “Endurance”. The photographs are a tribute to the strength and good humour of those who suffered the most before, during and after the earthquake. It’s a project that seeks to counter the discrimination that they suffer daily, and a call to rebuild the country in such a way as to make it accessible for everyone.