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Daily life is "back to normal" in Nepal

Shalik Ram, his wife and two sons still live in a temporary shelter they built. It’s near the ruins of their former home in the Kathmandu Valley. Yet, Shalik says, "daily life is back to normal."

A year ago, though, things looked very different.

“My house was totally destroyed by the earthquake," Shalik says.

When the earthquake hit, "it was time to harvest potatoes and almost the time to harvest wheat as well.

"I had one cow. It was okay but the shed I kept it in collapsed. Luckily the cow was outside at the time."

Farmers need support

Shalik and his family were able to keep going after the disaster thanks to grants from the Red Cross and the government of Nepal.

Like many farmers in the area, Shalik could not sell his produce after the earthquakes.Roads were blocked and local markets closed..

"I could only store some of my crop," he says, "and lost 75 per cent of it.

"I somehow harvested some vegetables but my market agent couldn’t come and collect them because of transport problems.”

Then Shalik and his family received a Red Cross grant of around £66 to help them through the winter. A further grant of £33 for seeds and tools made a big difference.

The Red Cross gives people cash grants rather than distributing supplies such as food or blankets so families can buy what they need. The grants also help keep the local economy going.

Shalik lost his clothes when his house collapsed, so he bought winter clothes with the first Red Cross grant. 

Fresh peas

“With the £33 RedCross grant I bought potato seeds and fertiliser."

Now, Shalik has also used the grant to grow peas, a crop that gets a good price at the market.

Peas also add to the diversity of the family's diet.

"I love eating them fresh anytime, and they can be used in a pickle, a curry or a dal.

"The grant wasn’t so big but at the time it was very important for us to survive. It got us through."

Reporting by Phil Johnstone