Nepal – The Aftermath

This series of photographs shows Nepal and its people eighteen months after the heavy earthquakes of April and May 2015. Back then nearly 9000 people died, eight million were affected and the number of destroyed or damaged buildings ranged up to one million. This disastrous event took place in a country already marked as one of the poorest worldwide. Corruption is a daily occurrence and one of Nepal‘s biggest problems. Being situated between the East Asian giants, India and China, does not make the economical and political situation for Nepal much easier. Even more so, as it is heavily dependent on these neighbours. An Indian boycott of fuel and gas supplies for Nepal led to an economic crisis in the middle of the recovery and reconstructions in December 2015. What do events like these do to an already poor country and who are these so-called affected people? These questions were the primary motives of this project. On my journey to take these photographs, I came across very diverse conditions. Places without any traces of the catastrophe stood in contrast to areas where construction sites, shanties and piles of bricks shaped the landscape and spots where the quake seemed to have taken place only yesterday. I visited the Annapurna Conservation Area, the city of Pokhara and Thamel in Kathmandu. These are hotspots of tourism, which is after all the most important economic sector for the small country. Herein lie a lot of hopes for the future.The orphanage called ”Bottle House“ in Nayapati, in the Northeastern Kathmandu Valley was damaged severely but luckily everyone survived. The fifty children and their caregivers had to spend the following rainy season in tents until their houses were rebuilt.

The name of the place originates from the fact that old beer and liquor bottles are used as cheap material to build the walls of their buildings – an ironic coincidence since alcohol abuse by the parents is often the reason why children turn into complete or half orphans in the first place. Although the ”Bottle House“ has suffered a lot from the earthquake, it shows impressively how to cope with the aftermath: Not only did they rebuild their houses, they also constructed new ones to double their capacities. The orphanage provides the children a chance to escape poverty by getting a good education. This is only made possible by donations and sponsorships, which are increasing steadily because of their transparent policies. They understood that the future of their children and their country is inseparable.At the Internally Displaced Person (IDP) Camp in Chuchepati, Kathmandu, where people from all regions affected by the quake came to, one could rapidly lose all confidence. For those who were still living there and who have not yet benefitted from the promised financial support of the government, really nothing has changed for the past year and a half. They feel like they have been forgotten. In March 2017 the camp was cleared by the police and the tents where destroyed leaving the remaining and still homeless people once more displaced.It is this ambivalent state, in which I found this fascinating country, that I wanted to convey with my pictures – where hope and despair are sometimes only separated by a few bricks.