The tragedy in this country is horrible and will take at least a decade to heal. You can do web searches to get a more complete story. NECO Home is severely damaged and our children still living outside in a cow barn but are safe and well fed. What wonderful children. While the schools are still closed, they are vigorously helping in cleaning and restoring their home. However, our many of our neighbors are not so fortunate so our orphanage has helped in the caring and feeding of many of our destitute neighbors (this has been done from donations received to be spent for general disaster and not just for our own children). In return, many of them have come to our compound to help clear the trash and fallen bricks and plaster and are helping in reconstructing critical areas of damage.
As you know the Unity Building was constructed mostly from NECO donations .
Sadly, the Unity Building has structural problems, specifically with two pillars. We’ve had three engineers that have told us to demolish the building which of course would be an unacceptable huge, irreplaceable loss. Keep in mind that in Nepali culture there is always extreme positions. It’s what I call the hot/cold mentality. This is the reason why compromise is so difficult and why it’s been almost 6 years to write a new constitution. Sri Lanka for example, amended their constitution in one month! It’s either this way or that way and no way in between. Anyway, both Bishow and I did not accept this assessment. But first.
The Unity Building above garage and facing entry compound, or what we call the Lower Garden.
Notice the large window on the first floor. Each side is deteriorated.
Wall cracked on each side of picture window. Entire wall must be removed and rebricked.
View of window on inside of building.
This arched doorway and wall are all damaged beyond repair.
This arched doorway and wall are all damaged beyond repair.
The same wall from the inside.
In other words, the entire wall from large window to doorway must be replaced.
In the office on the first floor there is substantial wall damage as well. Pictures were sent before so I won’t repeat them here.
Unity room garden side and adjoining to main building. On the right picture, note the pillar on each side of the building.
Left pillar or column. You can see the pillar has shifted about one inch. So although this might seem small, there is no absolute downward verticle weight bearing.
Right pillar. Same problem.
Both are structurally NOT sound.
So eventually the pillars on the ground floor and the pillars on the first floor could begin to ‘bow’ or arch outward which would eventually lead to building collapse.
As an emergency measure, the concrete office stairways which was bearing huge load of weight against the weakened walls and pillar was removed and replaced with a steel staircase.
A fourth engineer came day before yesterday and explained that the pillars CAN be reinforced.
Columns may be repaired by using one or more of the following methods:
- Encasement or enlargement of the column cross section (jacketing).
- Cathodic protection to stop reinforcing steel corrosion.
- Realkalization of the reinforcing steel to stop corrosion.
- Chloride extraction to retard the reinforcing steel corrosion.
- Confinement using steel plate, carbon, or glass fiber materials.
- Addition of shear collars to increase the shear capacity of intermediate floors.
- Addition of a steel plate assembly to increase moment capacity.
- Supplemental columns.
- The application of a protection system to prevent future corrosion.
But this will be time consuming and very costly before we can reoccupy and use this building.
Of course we need substantial amount of money for these repairs, in the tens of thousands of dollars.
As you know, NECO Home has leased (including the Unity Building) all the ground floor rooms in our main house. Bishow Bhatta’s flat is on the first floor, and John Snyder’s flat is on the second floor. Further, included in this is the small cabin. Both the small cabin and John’s flat received very little damage to be concerned about. In almost all masonry buildings the main damage is mostly on the ground and first floors.
So there is substantial damage done to this building by the two earthquakes on the ground and first floor.
The necessity of repairs is required on each floor and they are not independent of each other. For example, if certain repairs are not made (due to funding perhaps) on the first floor, this could threaten the structure integrity of the leased rooms on the ground floor.
In Bishow’s flat, a horizontal cross beam has been damaged and needs replacement according to our engineer.
Horizontal cross beam structurally damaged.
This can be replaced but can be very complicated and very dangerous to make repairs. Without repair, due to more earthquakes or simple weight stress over time, the ceiling could collapse onto the girl’s hostel, which itself is heavily damaged. Since Bishow does not have the money to make these repairs at this time (he is unsalaried during his time here while still needing to support his family), there will be a long time before repairs can be made and the girl’s hostel safe to reoccupy.
For Bishow’s present expenditures, on the bathroom side, heavy walls are being removed and replaced with lightweight, flexible aluminum walls and windows. Work is in progress.
Attached bath leading to bedroom.
Fallen brick and plaster from wall removal in Bishow’s flat.
In the girl’s hostel on the ground floor, we have much damage where walls need replacing as well.
Just two pics to remind you as pictures were sent before.
And the L-Shaped porch we sent damage pix before.
Further, to make matters worse, the landlord of the Boy’s Hostel which we rent, is now asking that we return the building to them (as their other home was destroyed). They have asked that we return the building in 30 days.
Roadside view of Boy’s hostel, with the Unity Office in the background.
So the bottom line is that the main building which houses the Girl’s Hostel and Kitchen cannot be reoccupied for a very long time unless major source of funding is forthcoming. And the Boy’s Hostel will be lost. So that means all of our children will be living in the cow barn for a very long time.
But is there a solution?
As you know Bishow acquired additional property a few months ago adjacent to our main compound. This is the gate to its entrance from our main compound.
This is the area where we can build a new hostel.
Instead of spending huge amounts of money at this time to reconstruct our damaged buildings and to prevent the kids from sleeping in the cow barn for months, we can construct an earthquake resistant youth hostel similar to the pix of this building:
It would be divided into two hostels, one for girls and one for boys. The size would be 27’ by 70’, much longer than the pix shown here. It would be constructed of metal and roof pillars, and a concrete flooring. First lower half of walls (4-5 feet high) will be concrete (not bricks), then aluminum windows set in.
Above the windows the walls will be constructed with a non-falling, non-heavy material (we are still looking). The roof will be made of lightweight aluminum sheeting.
Bishow says we can construct this building for about just $12,000. Here he is consulting with the chief mason and designer.
In faith Bishow has already purchased materials (I think on credit) and has begun construction.
And remarkably, we just received a significant contribution from Mr. Frank and Valarie Ward of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan to pay for this. So this is answered prayer; we don’t need funds from NECO Foundation for basic construction; and we are now guaranteed that we can fully construct the building to move the children from outside into the inside in a very short time.
BUT…..regarding fundraising and costs of reconstruction on the main compound buildings which are leased to NECO Home and for the children’s use, we still need huge contributions to restore these facilities in order to use and reoccupy.
Thank you for however you can help.