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  • Skem charity chief reports back from visit to Nepal on devastating effects of climate change

    Frank Martin

    THE chairman of a Skelmersdale-based charity set up to address the plight of children in a developing country living in poverty has just returned from a visit to see how climate change is having a devastating effect on lives there.

    Keith Laycock’s son Jeremy set up Resvolve International after volunteering in Nepal to address the plight of children living in poverty who were unable to attend school, worked in dangerous occupations and did not have enough food.

    Working in partnership with non-governmental organisations in the South Asian country, the charity seeks to develop budgets and deliver projects to benefit local children through improved sanitation and access to primary education.

    Since its formation in 2006, Resolve International has provided almost 750 toilets to rural families, women’s groups and schools in Nepal.

    However, despite their efforts Nepal still faces many problems, including the damaging consequences of climate change and flooding.

    Keith Laycock witnessed this for himself during his recent visit. He said: “The mountains, which usually have permanent snow caps, had been black rock until the week before I arrived.

    “Nepal is dependent on melt water from the snow-capped mountains and the glaciers but they are rapidly disappearing. The melt water keeps people, animals and crops alive and also produces hydro-electricity for the country.

    “Nepal is used to monsoon rains, but last year the rains were exceptional and most of Western Nepal was subject to flooding and landslides. Hundreds of people lost their lives, others lost their homes and schools were destroyed.

    “We appealed to local people here in West Lancashire to help us provide a new roof for one school in the affected area and raised enough money to buy corrugated sheets to cover new temporary classrooms.”

    The commanding officer at the Nepal Army barracks in Baglung District told Keith that transporting relief aid by road proved impossible during the floods. Landslides had destroyed sections of the roads and other dirt tracks were deep in mud so the army had to use helicopters to get goods to the worst affected villages.

    But earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters are not the only problems in the country. Lack of sanitation is still a major issue in Nepal, resulting in illness and the deaths of hundreds of young children each year.

    Keith added: “We have just completed another 165 toilets for rural families. I have just returned from walking the hills of Baglung District in Western Nepal where we have been supporting families for the past decade.

    “The steep-sided ‘hills’ lie at altitudes of 2 to 3,000 metres. I can’t imagine how the families carry all the stone, cement and other materials across these hills to their homes - it’s exhausting just walking up and down the trails.”

    During his trip Keith also visited one of the schools which benefited from funds raised by Aughton Male Voice Choir.

    Member Paul Dickie from Lathom was in Kathmandu when the first big earthquake struck in 2015 and was determined to help some of the people whose lives were devastated by the disaster.

    The £775 raised at a concert in Ormskirk Parish Church provided teaching materials to 10 schools in Bhimpokhara, where Resolve International began its work in 2006.

    “The school I visited was also rebuilding two classrooms which were damaged in the earthquakes,” added Keith.

    For more information on the work of Resolve International or to support their efforts go to the website www.resolveinternational.org. 

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