Nepal three months on: Dewaki, 63, and Bir, 61

Dewaki, 63

Dewaki is 63 years old. She lives in the Nukawot district of Nepal. When the earthquake struck on 25 April 2015, her life was torn apart.

Dewaki, 63 - a survivor of the Nepal earthquake Dewaki, 63, lost her husband and home in the Nepal earthquake (c) Yog Raj Sharma / HelpAge International

It was just before midday when the ground began to shake violently beneath Dewaki. She was sitting outside with her husband, sheltering from the sun close to her home.

Struck by fear, she didn't know what to do. Her husband reacted quickly, grabbing her by the hand to lead her inside. As he did, their home collapsed beneath the stress of the tremors, crushing him to death. Dewaki survived, but fainted with shock. She awoke injured, with neither shelter nor any family to turn to.

"My husband was my only friend, caregiver and supporter," she said. "He was my everything."

Dewaki has four sons, but they all live with their own families. They don't care for her and she is unable to work.

"I am forced to live alone. The earthquake snatched away all my happiness and I have no idea how to get it back," Dewaki continued.

Yet she is recovering with assistance from HelpAge. We have provided Dewaki with a cash transfer of US$75, which she has been using to pay for medicine to treat her injuries, while keeping some aside in case of another emergency. But she still needs help to rebuild her home and settle down again.

Bir, 61

Sixty-one-year-old Bir also lives in the Nuwakot district of Nepal and, like Dewaki, his home was levelled by the earthquake on 25 April 2015. The same house he had built with his own hands 20 years earlier.

Bir, 61, a recipient of HelpAge's cash transfer programme following the Nepal earthquake Bir, 61, a recipient of HelpAge's cash transfer programme following the Nepal earthquake (c) HelpAge International

Fortunately, Bir and the seven other members of his family survived the tremors, but they were left at risk and exposed to the elements. Their only shelter was a rudimentary tarpaulin cover.

All of Bir's scant savings were buried beneath the ruins of his home and he has since been unable to recover them. Being from a family of labourers, their income dried up in the weeks after the quake and they had no money to rebuild their property.

With a US$75 cash transfer from HelpAge, Bir was able to buy zinc sheets to build a sturdier shelter, which will be a lifesaver for him and his family during the monsoon season.

But in the long term, they will need to build a more permanent home for their lives to return to normality.

Cash transfers crucial to humanitarian relief in Nepal

Bir and Dewaki are just two of 10,000 individuals who have benefited from HelpAge's cash transfer programme. For older people affected by the earthquake in Nepal, it is a vital form of humanitarian assistance.

Having money gives people direct access to medicine, food and building supplies without having to queue for hours, or endure chaotic scrambles when relief items are distributed. Meanwhile, cash transfers can help to kickstart the economy as the money spreads through the whole supply chain.

Find out more about our relief operation in Nepal.

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