In the early hours of 29 March 1999, an earthquake of magnitude of 6.8 hit the north-western part of India. The maximum impact of this earthquake was felt in the hill districts of Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Tehri in the Garhwal region of Uttar Pradesh, where it claimed about 100 lives, left several hundred people injured and about 6000 houses damaged, apart from causing damage to property worth crores of rupees. Electricity, water supply and communication facilities also suffered extensive damage, especially in the Chamoli town, Gopeshwar (the district HQ of Chamoli) and Okhimath region of Rudraprayag district. Landslips mobilized by the earthquake cut off portions of Mandakini valley and Mandal valley and several major roads. Ground cracks and openings were reported.
Across the state and the country organizations and individuals swung into action. KHW - India at our level concentrated in collaborating a network which would help pool in resources to avoid duplication of work in the affected areas.
Our work involved 15 villages in the areas of Chama and Nailchami of the Tehri district. With the help of a local NGO, immediate relief material was provided like water, food and sanitation, GI sheets and plastic sheets for temporary shelters for the affected community. We also constructed a permanent shelter which could be used in similar eventuality by the community. It is currently being used as a primary school in the area for the socially and economically deprived children, where access to quality education is inconceivable.