Earthquake recovery aided by former Wath pupil Joel

A FORMER Wath Comprehensive School pupil has flown to Nepal to help the country with its recovery from last year’s devastating earthquake.

More than 8,000 people were killed and around 21,000 injured when the 7.8 magnitude quake struck the country on April 25, 2015.

A year on 23-year-old Joel Taylor is volunteering in the Kavrepalanchok district of Nepal as part of the efforts by UK Government’s Department for International Development to help.

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Joel, of Swinton, said: “I am providing sessions to adults and children based on hygiene, disaster relief and reduction, sanitation and hosting community action days to raise awareness to large groups of people on various development issues and basic first aid.

“I believe that education is very important, not only at a school level but also in the community.

“Nepal is a beautiful country that is often hit with earthquakes and I believe a little knowledge on how to deal with them and how to re-stabilise after could help save lives.

“It's not only about rebuilding stronger homes but how to treat water that may be polluted and to deal with various injuries, be they mental or physical.

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“I have a lot of experience with first aid work so I can provide first aid courses in the community and to teachers in schools.”

Joel is volunteering as part of the government’s £70 million relief effort — which includes rubble clearance and restoring infrastructure such as health services and police stations.

He added: “Nepal is making a lot of progress — many of the schools have temporary learning centres made from bamboo.

“These are vital as 8,300 school buildings have been damaged  beyond repair.

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“It is also nice to see that although many of the old buildings were destroyed last April, that new constructions are made of mainly concrete — this is becoming more common in rural areas, too.”

The relief effort is being run by international development secretary Justine Greening, herself a former pupil of Oakwood School.

She said: “I saw for myself how devastating last year's earthquakes in Nepal were and our long standing 200-year-old friendship showed through in the UK public's hugely generous response. 

“It meant we were able to quickly reach the Nepali people with essential supplies, making sure the most vulnerable were protected throughout the following freezing winter. 

“A year on, we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Nepal as they repair and rebuild.”