The Sunday Mirror and the Sunday People today have highlighted that UK aid is supporting retired British Gurkhas in Nepal to help take clean drinking water to the doorsteps of remote villages.
In remote villages in Nepal, DFID has helped Gurkha Welfare Services – largely run by retired British Gurkhas, to bring clean drinking water to the doorstep of every home in villages with British Gurkha families.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:
“It is a privilege that we can support the incredible, life-changing work being done in Nepal by Gurkhas who served with courage and bravery for the British Army.
“UK aid has led the way in supporting Nepal following the devastating earthquakes that left many homeless and injured and we can be proud that heroes for Britain are changing lives in their hometowns by providing clean water to stop deadly and preventable diseases like cholera from spreading.”
Lack of access to water has had several serious implications for the villages, including hours of time spent travelling to the nearest water source which could be as high as three hours a day. It presents health challenges through sanitation, and the ability for farmers to irrigate their crops. Outbreaks of diseases like diarrhoea were common.
In this DFID programme, people from the village work alongside British Gurkhas to collect water from groundwater sources in the hills, filter it properly and lay down extensive pipelines that take the water to individual taps.
In the remote village of Yangjakot alone, 22 kilometres of pipelines supply 231 tap stands - 215 households, two schools, two temples, six community centres and a health post.
This UK aid support has transformed the lives of 1,350 residents. The village has seen a drop in sickness, with waterborne diseases such as dysentery reduced by over 90%, and their local economy has benefited due to the labour hours saved.
The Sunday Mirror noted that so far, 88 ex-Gurkhas have done similar work with the Gurkha Welfare Trust in 1,750 villages.
Project director Captain Hikmat Gurung is also quoted, saying: “Gurkhas’ strong historical and cultural ties in their home villages have helped build trust with the locals.”