On April 25, 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. Two weeks later, a second one hit. Almost 9,000 people were killed and over 22,000 injured. More than 80% of Nepal’s population lives in rural areas, most in homes made of stone, mud, and thatch. Some 3 million people, including women and children were displaced and an estimated 800,000 buildings are destroyed or severely damaged. The earthquake impacted the livelihoods of 2.3 million households and 5.6 million workers, and up to 90 percent of enterprises in the worst-hit districts. Migrant workers in some 50 brick factories near Bagmati in central Nepal are working overtime producing bricks for the reconstruction effort in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and other cities in the Kathmandu valley that were badly damaged by the 2015 quake The kilns have been in the Bagmati area for centuries because of the high quality local clay, a popular raw material for the bricks. The kilns have a rectangular brick wall the size of a football field, with a tall chimney at its center. Workers pile raw bricks in rows inside the kiln prior to covering them with a layer of dirt. The kilns burn at up to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit continuously for the brick production season, which lasts almost the entire winter. The brick makers of Nepal, will be busy for years to come supplying the raw materials for this huge reconstruction project.
ZUMA Press Launches this week: zReportage: “BRICK by BRICK” Photography by @ Jack Kurtz